Senate investigators interview a former Trump business associate who tried to get Trump a deal in Moscow

From BuzzFeed:

The Senate Intelligence Committee is interviewing Felix Sater, a former business associate of President Donald Trump who tried to get him a deal in Moscow, on Wednesday as part of its investigation into Russian election interference. […]

Sater is one of the most mysterious figures in the Trump-Russia investigation, and has spoken previously to special counsel Robert Mueller and the House Intelligence Committee. In a statement to the House, Sater — who has been deeply connected to the Trump Organization — revealed for the first time the extent of his work as a high-level asset to US intelligence and law enforcement agencies. At least six members of Mueller’s team worked for the Department of Justice while Sater produced important details about cybercrimes, al-Qaeda, and North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

Two subjects will likely be at the top of investigators’ list: a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow and a supposed Ukrainian “peace plan.”

The committee recently asked the Treasury Department for financial information on Sater and his real estate firm, Bayrock Group LLC, which did deals with the Trump Organization in the early 2000s. In a letter to Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network dated Dec. 7, the committee asked for any potential suspicious activity reports and other bank documents on Sater, Bayrock, and other people and businesses. Banks must report to the Treasury transactions that have the characteristics of money laundering or other financial wrongdoing, but the reports themselves are not evidence of a crime — many of the transactions are legal.

It’s unclear whether FinCen has turned over any documents related to Sater, but it has identified 23 suspicious activity reports associated with his financial transactions, sources say.

Born in Moscow but raised in Brooklyn, Sater worked with the Trump Organization on developments across the globe. In 2015, he sent Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, an email promising to build a tower in Moscow with the support of the Kremlin.

“Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Sater wrote. “I will get all of Putin’s team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”

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