Chuck Ross, DCNF
- A businessman with links to President Donald Trump says he has worked for more than 20 years as a spy
- Felix Sater detailed his cooperation
- Sater has worked on deals for Trump’s real estate company
A businessman with links to President Donald Trump says he has worked for more than 20 years as a spy for the FBI, CIA and other U.S. government agencies.
Felix Sater detailed his cooperation in a statement released on Monday after BuzzFeed News published an in-depth profile of his work for the U.S. government.
BuzzFeed obtained government documents and conducted interviews with government officials who backed up Sater’s claims to have helped with clandestine operations around the globe. Sater has gathered intelligence on al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, La Cosa Nostra and various money laundering operations, according to the report.
Sater has helped with some of the government’s most important intelligence-gathering efforts, however, he is better known for his connections to Trump.
The Russian-born Sater has worked on deals for Trump’s real estate company. He had an office in Trump Tower at one point and has been photographed with the former real estate mogul. Sater pitched longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen in 2015 to pursue construction of Trump Tower in Moscow. The project would have the support of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Sater said.
Sater also met in January 2017 with Cohen and a Ukrainian politician as part of an attempt to pitch the Trump administration on a Ukrainian peace plan that offered concessions to Russia.
Sater’s contacts with Cohen are of interest to investigators looking into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. He was interviewed in December by both the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the special counsel’s office.
What remains unclear from the deeply reported BuzzFeed profile is whether Sater, a willing government cooperator, has any information to offer investigators that might be damaging to Trump or his associates.
Sater is known to six members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, BuzzFeed reported. Andrew Weissmann, a Justice Department attorney working for Mueller, signed Sater’s cooperation agreement back in 1998.
Ronn Torossian, a longtime friend of Sater’s and his spokesman, spoke to The Daily Caller News Foundation Monday after the publication of BuzzFeed’s article.
Asked whether Sater has any information about collusion involving the Trump campaign, Torossian said that “all this talk about collusion or lying or all the rest, Felix gave a sworn statement under oath, and if he was lying then clearly he would have been indicted.”
“His statement in terms of what Felix knows and says is very clear,” said Torossian.
“If Felix lied about anything then clearly the government should arrest him. They haven’t,” he added.
When asked again whether Sater has any information about collusion, Torossian said: “I’m not going to talk about that.”
Asked about rumors that Sater was a source — witting or unwitting — for the infamous Steele dossier, Torossian said that “of course it’s untrue.”
Sater’s life as an American spy began at the age of 31 when he was approached by a Defense Intelligence Agency officer named Milton Blaine, he said in his statement.
“I was given the opportunity to serve and protect our country, which I enthusiastically embraced,” said Sater.
“For the next 20-plus years, up to and including the present, I have continued to wholeheartedly work with various U.S. government agencies,” he added.
Sater began his career as a Wall Street investment banker at Bear Stearns. That went off the rails after Sater landed in prison for slicing a man with a broken martini glass during a barroom brawl in New York City. After his release from jail, Sater set up a stock scam that defrauded investors of $40 million. Facing further jail time, Sater began cooperating with government agencies.
Perhaps his most significant coup was obtaining phone numbers for five satellite phones used by bin Laden.