Widespread reporting has made clear over the past months that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is targeting Donald Trump for obstruction of justice, in relation to his firing of FBI Director James Comey and his attempted coverup of Donald Trump Jr’s Russia meeting. Now one obscure detail from the past involving a member of Mueller’s team and a member of Trump’s real estate empire has given away Mueller’s plan for also taking Trump down for money laundering.
Mueller was given wide latitude to hire anyone he saw fit for his team, and he chose prosecutors with a variety of backgrounds. He hired Andrew Weissmann, who has a background in prosecuting money laundering crimes. But does that tell us that Mueller is going after Trump for money laundering? Not necessarily, as he’s already arrested Trump campaign advisers Paul Manafort and Rick Gates on money laundering charges, and he would have needed a money laundering prosecutor for that. But one detail about Weissmann’s background sticks out like a sore thumb: he’s the guy who flipped Felix Sater back in the day.
Felix Sater has spent years partnering with Donald Trump and the Trump Organization on shady and controversial real estate deals, including Trump Soho in New York City. Sater has been convicted of crimes ranging from laundering money for the Russian mafia, to stabbing a guy in the face. Along the way, Sater was talked into becoming a government informant. The man who talked Sater into cutting that deal: Andrew Weissmann.
Given this detail, it’s fairly clear that Robert Mueller brought in Andrew Weissmann to work with Felix Sater to take down Donald Trump for money laundering. It’s quicker and easier for Mueller to prove Trump guilty of obstruction of justice, which is why he’s been pushing forward on it first. But that’s just the beginning of Mueller’s pursuit of Trump for his criminal activities.
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report