Notorious Trump associate and former Trump Organization employee Felix Sater is still relevant. Recently, the former Bayrock principal claimed he has been working as a spy for the U.S. intelligence community for over 20 years. Since the plight and scandal of Trump SoHo, Sater has come back into the public eye for his sometimes absurd exploits.
Sater claimed in a statement to be a confidential source of the U.S. government, remarking on his nationality, criminal history, and career before sharing a detailed list of his contributions to American intelligence. He was also interviewed by the Senate Intelligence Committee for seven hours on April 4, 2018, when he appears to have given the same statement. He apparently became an FBI informant after pleading guilty to racketeering in 1998, but had been helping the U.S. government before that plea, and continued assisting after the agreement concluded.
Despite verification from the intelligence community, Sater’s contributions seem outrageous even for a veteran CIA agent, let alone a real estate investor. He once went as far to claim that he “was building Trump Towers by day and hunting Bin Laden by night.” When George Stephanopoulos exclaimed, “Your career is straight out of a movie,” Sater replied that a screenwriter trying to write said movie couldn’t make it up. Much of his work involved the terrorist group al-Qaeda, ranging from delivering five personal telephone numbers for Osama bin Laden prior to 9/11, to reporting that two female al-Qaeda members were trying to get an Afghan woman in the Senate barbershop to assassinate George W. Bush. Sater also claims that he helped undermine organized crime, catch financial criminals, and obtain other military intelligence.
Regardless of his good deeds, Sater was still a part of Trump’s network as recently as January 2017, when Sater met with infamous Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and Ukrainian lawmaker Andrei Artemenko. Artemenko requested they bring the White House a peace deal for Ukraine that favored Russia, apparently with the encouragement of top Putin aides. Their proposal was delivered by Cohen to then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, though Cohen now denies he did so.
All told, there are still many questions left for Felix Sater. Why did he associate with a man arrested for running a prostitution ring? Why was an informant of the U.S. government working with a legally embattled developer for so many years? Why did he participate in a $40 million stock fraud scam? Good or bad, Sater is still a focus of controversy, and Trump’s willingness — or “forgetfulness” — about working with him should give pause to any investigator.
The web of Donald Trump’s connections to organized crime is alarming and goes back decades. From Russian mobsters and convicted drug traffickers to multimillion-dollar money laundering schemes and bank fraud, his history of criminal associates puts him — and the country — at risk.