Of all the unusual characters in Donald Trump’s Russia scandal, Felix Sater might be the oddest of the bunch. He’s a convicted Russian mafia money launderer who has since worked as an FBI informant, and somewhere in there he spearheaded some shady Trump Organization real estate deals. Sater appeared on a repeat of the Chris Hayes show this evening on MSNBC which left us with more questions than answers. The one thing that stood out: Sater protested too much tonight when it came to Donald Trump.
Felix Sater largely used the interview to try to dodge Hayes’ questions about the Trump-Russia political scandal, even as Hayes tried to press him for answers. Sater argued that he ceased working with the Trump Organization several years ago, and that he couldn’t answer questions about the Trump political campaign because he wasn’t involved in it. But then he ceded that he was brought back into the Trump fold specifically to try to negotiate the construction of Trump Tower Moscow with the Russians during the election.
Sater claims that the Trump Tower Moscow deal – which ended up falling through for still unknown reasons – was totally on the up-and-up. But that means we’re supposed to believe that Donald Trump brought a convicted Russian mafia money launderer out of retirement specifically to negotiate a real estate deal between the Trump Organization and Russia, while Trump was running for President, and there’s nothing suspicious about any of that.
The most telling moment during Felix Sater’s interview tonight may have been when he insisted that Donald Trump has never taken any Russian money, and that he would never speak to Trump again if he ever found out otherwise. Why even go there? It felt like Sater was protesting far too much. In any case, it doesn’t matter what Sater says on television. It only matters what Sater, who was apparently still an FBI informant during the election, has privately told Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report