The Timing of the Felix Sater Interviews

Back in my first post on the structure of Robert Mueller’s team, “Robert Mueller’s Grand Jury and the Significance of Felix Sater,” I noted that he would know what he was dealing with because of past history with Felix Sater, the sometimes business partner of Donald Trump, who has served as an FBI informant on (among other things) the mob.

In BuzzFeed’s fascinating story on Sater’s past as an intelligence and FBI informant, Anthony Cormier and Jason Leopold go further. They point out that Andrew Weissmann signed Sater’s FBI cooperation agreement and Sater has ties with another five members of Mueller’s team.

Today, as he is being questioned about Trump’s business deals and ties to Russia, he has built relationships with at least six members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, some going back more than 10 years.


Signing Sater’s cooperation agreement for the Department of Justice was Andrew Weissmann, then an assistant US attorney and now a key member of the special counsel’s team. Mueller himself would be the FBI director for most of the time Sater served as a source.

The mob and fraud and corruption lawyers working for Mueller have a remarkable amount of firsthand knowledge about who Felix Sater is.

Which is why I find the timing of the interviews Sater has had with the three main Russia investigations to be so interesting. These are:

December 2017 [Leopold clarified this via Twitter]: Mueller interview

December 2017 [CNN has reported it occurring on the 20th]: HPSCI interview in lawyer’s office

April 2018: Scheduled interview with SSCI

This, in spite of the fact that Sater’s role in helping pitch a Ukrainian peace deal to Mike Flynn first got reported in February.

A week before Michael T. Flynn resigned as national security adviser, a sealed proposal was hand-delivered to his office, outlining a way for President Trump to lift sanctions against Russia.


The amateur diplomats say their goal is simply to help settle a grueling, three-year conflict that has cost 10,000 lives. “Who doesn’t want to help bring about peace?” Mr. Cohen asked.

But the proposal contains more than just a peace plan. Andrii V. Artemenko, the Ukrainian lawmaker, who sees himself as a Trump-style leader of a future Ukraine, claims to have evidence — “names of companies, wire transfers” — showing corruption by the Ukrainian president, Petro O. Poroshenko, that could help oust him. And Mr. Artemenko said he had received encouragement for his plans from top aides to Mr. Putin.


Mr. Artemenko said a mutual friend had put him in touch with Mr. Sater. Helping to advance the proposal, Mr. Sater said, made sense.

“I want to stop a war, number one,” he said. “Number two, I absolutely believe that the U.S. and Russia need to be allies, not enemies. If I could achieve both in one stroke, it would be a home run.”

After speaking with Mr. Sater and Mr. Artemenko in person, Mr. Cohen said he would deliver the plan to the White House.

Mr. Cohen said he did not know who in the Russian government had offered encouragement on it, as Mr. Artemenko claims, but he understood there was a promise of proof of corruption by the Ukrainian president.

“Fraud is never good, right?” Mr. Cohen said.

He said Mr. Sater had given him the written proposal in a sealed envelope. When Mr. Cohen met with Mr. Trump in the Oval Office in early February, he said, he left the proposal in Mr. Flynn’s office.

And in spite of the fact that Sater’s role in pitching a Trump Tower deal became known at least as early as August, when Michael Cohen reported it to Congress.

While Donald Trump was running for president in late 2015 and early 2016, his company was pursuing a plan to develop a massive Trump Tower in Moscow, according to several people familiar with the proposal and new records reviewed by Trump Organization lawyers.

As part of the discussions, a Russian-born real estate developer urged Trump to come to Moscow to tout the proposal and suggested that he could get President Vladimir Putin to say “great things” about Trump, according to several people who have been briefed on his correspondence.

The developer, Felix Sater, predicted in a November 2015 email that he and Trump Organization leaders would soon be celebrating — both one of the biggest residential projects in real estate history and Donald Trump’s election as president, according to two of the people with knowledge of the exchange.

Sater wrote to Trump Organization Executive Vice President Michael Cohen “something to the effect of, ‘Can you believe two guys from Brooklyn are going to elect a president?’ ” said one person briefed on the email exchange. Sater emigrated from what was then the Soviet Union when he was 6 and grew up in Brooklyn.

So even Mueller’s prosecutors, who know Sater well, waited at least four months before they interviewed him.

Plus, the timing of these interviews is interesting given the other known interview schedules (see this CNN timeline for the easiest comparison). Sater’s HPSCI interview, for example, took place the same week as long-time, loyal Trump assistant Rhona Graff got interviewed, at a time when Republicans had started blowing through interviews in an attempt to finish their investigation (HPSCI announced they were done with interviews today).

SSCI, by comparison, first tried to interview Michael Cohen — an important participant in both Sater roles — in September, but brought him back on October 25 after he released a public statement.

In Mueller’s investigation, Sater got interviewed around the same time the team was interviewing Hope Hicks and Don McGahn, really high level people with a good degree of personal exposure.

And of course, all of these interviews took place in the wake of the November 30 Mike Flynn plea deal, who reportedly received the Ukrainian pitch.

So December Mueller and HPSCI interviews and an April SSCI interview suggests that all parties, for different reasons, felt like they had to do a lot of work before bringing in Sater, in spite of the fact that he was an identified interest as soon as the Flynn concerns were raised. Remember, too, that the subpoena Mueller just issued to Sam Nunberg started at almost exactly the same time Sater was pitching that Trump Tower deal.

Mind you, I don’t know what to make of the timing. But I do find it interesting that Sater’s old friends didn’t immediately seek him out for his honest testimony.

79 replies
  1. Willis Warren says:

    I’ve never believed he would cooperate, because I think he’s still loyal to Mother Russia. Where Russian and US interests align, he’s all help. Here, nah so much

  2. Rugger9 says:

    Read the buzzfeed article, claiming he was (at least) a double agent.  I noted on the last thread (use SLF’s link that follows mine) that for a guy as sleazy as Sater is he sure seemed to be remarkably free to walk around in polite society.

    I think you may be on to something with the Mother Russia loyalty, since I would guess the FSB would have fed him some polonium “tea” long ago if Vlad was concerned about it.

  3. Trip says:

    If he’s an asset, the formal interview may have been delayed while ongoing asset revelations were reported in, while the rest of the gang thought Sater hadn’t been touched yet. Maybe.

  4. Dan Sweeney says:

    Could it be that Sater has cooperated all along with Mueller and Co. and that his interviews were set and scheduled for appearances only?

  5. Rapier says:

    Anyone who would buy this

    “. Andrii V. Artemenko, the Ukrainian lawmaker, who sees himself as a Trump-style leader of a future Ukraine, claims to have evidence — “names of companies, wire transfers” — showing corruption by the Ukrainian president, Petro O. Poroshenko, that could help oust him.”

    That’s corruption charges.   Charges oh my.
    Against Poroshenko,  OMG!  would bring him down!!!,,,well they might be brain dead. Corruption! A Ukrainian politician!  What next? Stop the presses. The sun sets in the West?

    OK enough  with the 5 years worth of exclamation points. I pray that Slater didn’t believe that stuff. Flynn, sure, he’s that dumb, in my conception anyway.

    The crime here is how 7th rate these people are.

  6. pseudonymous in nc says:

    I suppose there’s the possibility of things about Sater known on a counter-intelligence level that need to be parallel-constructed for a criminal investigation.

    The timing of this piece is interesting in itself: it’s as if the writers introduced a bunch of new characters and then suddenly brought back one we haven’t seen since last season. Why now? What’s likely to come out that needs a pre-buttal?

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Do not beieve this is a parallel construction thing.

      More likely, to mine Metadata.

      (that is being created now)

  7. Joe F says:

    Sater is loyal to himself above all and would be in immediate peril if he started flapping his gums. Same goes for Manafort, whose whole family is going to jail without cooperation. I can’t go too far over the top, but the poisoning in the UK has to be giving some pause to potential cooperators. Russia showed in that case that they will kill your whole family if necessary

  8. SpaceLifeForm says:

    Looks like Nunes has reached his predetermined conclusion.

    And the memowars will continue.

    The committee is widely expected to issue two competing reports: one from Republicans that concludes no evidence of collusion was found, and another from Democrats that argues a case for collusion, as well as spells out all the avenues the committee did not investigate.

    • Bardi says:

      as well as spells out all the avenues the committee did not investigate.

      I believe that is the real reason the burn a committee with no credibility.  trump simply wanted all avenues covered.

  9. BroD says:

    Associated Press correspondent Zeke Miller:”The British government believes that Russia was behind the attempted murder and poisoning of two agents,”

    Maybe I’ve watched too much TV but…





    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      There is this Craig Murray observation.  The Met and others worked feverishly to identify the toxic substance, find evidence about how it might have come into the UK and about who exposed the Skripals to it.  Whatever nerve agent it is, it is described as being difficult to make without killing yourself doing it.

      Meanwhile, eight miles down the road from where the Skripals were poisoned is Porton Down, which has the largest stockpile of these substances in Europe.  No public connection made.  But let’s not forget the trees when looking for the forest.

      • Trip says:

        @earl, According to the BBC, Porton Down was where they identified the agent.

        What a place of horror in the past.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          To quote Mandy Rice-Davies, in reference to Porton Down identifying the origin of the substance that poisoned the Skripals as having a Russian origin, “Well he would, wouldn’t he.”  Former CIA director James Woolsey also says that the CIA only interferes in foreign elections to protect democracy – by undermining it.

          For over a hundred years, Porton Down has been home to the UK’s principal chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear research facilities, which have the largest stockpile of such “research material” in Europe.  It’s where one would go for such things.  But like similar American facilities in Maryland, its past is not spotless.

          Ms. May might be forthcoming, although she has released precious little information to the public that might allow it to assess her claims rather than take them on faith.  As a former Home Secretary, she would know where many bodies are buried.  She is mired in domestic and party troubles, especially Brexit, and is barely holding on to power.

          This might be a simple story of Russian interference, or something more complex. To paraphrase an earlier tweet from EW, how do we know the Skripals’ poisoning is not blowback from more recent activity rather than a settling of older disputes?  Ms. May might know; we don’t.

          • Trip says:

            I don’t disagree, @ earl. I was pointing out that, in a circumstance with an institution fraught with a horrendous past, it’s easy to see a conspiracy, in proximity to a terrible event. The methodology of becoming renowned for being expert at determining symptoms and effects of chemical agents was inhumane, to put it lightly.  The experimentation was Nazi-level cruelty.

            I’m not a fan of May, or Brexit and how it went down,  so this isn’t advocacy. But I suspect Porton Down would be the only institution in the UK who could most accurately determine the agent. May standing alone, without US support, puts her in a precarious situation if she were to escalate against the Kremlin. She may be stupid, reckless, guilty of something, or there might be some there there. It’s a shame that we have to think this way.

    • Robert Littlejohn says:

      Two questions about the Skripal poisoning.   I take it for granted that Putin is behind the poisoning.   1.   Why did they use a poison that carried the signature of the Russian government?    Of course they did the same thing some years ago when poisoning Litvenenko (different poison, but same idea).   Why would they want everyone to know that Putin was behind it?   2.   Why now?   Skripal was a double agent, they could have shot him some years ago instead of trading him.

      When Kim Jong Un killed his brother with nerve gas, he did it that way because he wanted the world to know that he has nerve gas and it will be nasty if anyone attacks him.    Putin didn’t do it for that reason.

      • Charles says:

        “When Kim Jong Un killed his brother with nerve gas, he did it that way because he wanted the world to know that he has nerve gas and it will be nasty if anyone attacks him.    Putin didn’t do it for that reason.”

        I think you’re wrong. It’s precisely for that reason that Putin would use a nerve gas that was known to have been developed in Russia. It’s true that Putin is not trying to guard against an armed attack; Kim is. But both men are deathly afraid of betrayal, and are trying to make it clear that it will be nasty for anyone who betrays them.

        To do that, they must make it clear who conducted the attack. It is terrorism, and should be treated as such, no less than the work of ISIS.

      • Trip says:

        Possible scenarios:

        1. To Manafort or any other Kremlin assets of betrayal or potential rats, the message is that it may take a long time, but will we get you. Anywhere, anyhow. No place is safe.

        2. There is infighting in the oligarchal consortium of decision makers of the Kremlin, where some might want to dispense of Putin, and make him look bad, for not wrapping up the end game properly.

        3. Putin pushing the envelope to see how far he can blatantly demonstrate operations, without any blow-back from his puppets.

        4. It’s a direct message to Brexit organizers/leaders, as a threat, because the conspiracy and assist didn’t only happen in the US.

        5. Skripal still had insider contacts, and was relaying secret Kremlin info, so that the punishment was for recent ‘infractions’.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Never assume.  Putin may be behind it, and he may feel that Ms. May is too distracted and has too few resources to organize an effective multi-lateral response.  He might also be taking advantage of the dearth of public knowledge to sow discord. Works pretty well in the US. If doing so helps the EU become permanently less effective by exacerbating Brexit, so much the better.

        None of that answers the questions of why both Skripals and why now.

          • Dev Null says:

            @earl: “why both Skripals and why now?”

            Aren’t Trip’s reasons #1 & #5 plausible responses to your questions?

            Dunno about #4: what reason to think Brexiters need a reminder? What did I miss?

            #2 seems a stretch because e.g. Mifsud was such a clumsy operative.

            #3 begs the question, seems to me. What’s in it for Putin to push the curve and push it now?

            • Rayne says:

              I’m with you on point 3. Actually, no, I think 3 is just plain off.

              Brexit is a means to destabilize the EU and by extension NATO. It’s not Brexiteers leadership who need a reminder.

              However Skripal’s poisoning may cause blowback if Brexit voters suddenly feel a refreshed need for NATO. Just keep an eye on Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, and Nigel Farage along with Ukip’s current leadership.

              • Dev Null says:

                @Rayne: I am confused, hardly an unusual condition.

                Trip’s point #3 might indeed be way off because Brexit (if that’s your point … I can’t tell), but point #3 is the one point on Trip’s list that isn’t responsive to Earl’s questions “why both Skripals and why now?” (obligatory caveat: “responsive” does not imply “correct”.)

                Or perhaps you meant Trip’s point #4 (rather than #3), since #4 directly addresses Brexit?

                • Rayne says:

                  Nuts, my bad, I meant Trip’s point 4 wrt Brexit. Between the size of the comments as the ziggurat winds down and the number of windows I have open overlapping right now, I picked up the wrong number.

                  Point 3 is likely — US and UK are at their weakest, perhaps since before WWII in UK’s case, and Putin is going to go as far and as fast as he can right now while there is no superpower to restrain him.

                  What’s in it for Putin? He’s a criminal. What’s in it for any criminal when there’s no law enforcement to hold him accountable?

                  • Phil Perspective says:

                    Point 3 is likely — US and UK are at their weakest, perhaps since before WWII in UK’s case, and Putin is going to go as far and as fast as he can right now while there is no superpower to restrain him.

                    What’s in it for Putin? He’s a criminal. What’s in it for any criminal when there’s no law enforcement to hold him accountable?


                    The same could be said for the U.S. business community!

                    • Rayne says:

                      Up to a point. What has made U.S. business including banking competitive and attractive has been its lower rate of corruption compared to many other countries. Not free from corruption, but an amount up until now which actuaries could reasonably estimate for insurance to backstop losses. If corruptions gets out of hand, there’s no good reason to do business here over someplace where corruption is well established to the point of being predictable in the opposite direction. Like Russia.

          • Willis Warren says:

            You gotta find people, get the novacheck (I’m a burberry fan, autocorrect) in there, and then get it done.  I doubt it has any real significance with respect to timing beyond tRUmp isn’t going to back up the UK

    • Buford says:

      maybe ya watched too much teevee…but it seems there are those in the russian sphere who watch teevee as well…

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Sater’s not the kind of guy ever likely to see a courtroom.  He seems too impeachable, to willing to talk about things the Feds might want to wall off from defense or public inquiry.  But he might provide information that could be proven through other means.  It’s also important to know how Sater’s information might be used to attack or undermine the cases Mueller’s team may have in mind.

    Mueller might also want to know if he needs to corral Sater for being too bad a boy.  They probably do have means to do that: seizures, bank and travel restrictions, putting out word that he’s talked about the wrong things to the wrong people.

  11. Avattoir says:

    for a guy as sleazy as Sater is he sure seemed to be remarkably free to walk around in polite society

    Sater appears to be an extreme case yet still an example of a type.

    The longer I was in practice, the easier it got to identify members of this type; I know of 2 other fairly clear examples and suspect more. Their high functionality in large part derives from the fact that somewhere along the line they got deemed useful to the agenda of one or more government and/or private interest managers who then rose in prominence.

    They were all immune to line dweebs like me.

    I’m not claiming it was the only way, or surefire, but, in the settings I’ve been in, one way generally considered reliable in identifying that you were dealing with someone of this genus is getting direct contact from a person you’ve met maybe once in passing who’s both tangential to yet still technically superior to your direct boss, who makes it clear that it’d be considered helpful to them and yourself of course also if some way could be found not to call his testimony.

    • Trip says:

      It does however, suck, that in order to catch/convict scumbags, one must rely on same.  That puts scumbags and the wealthy above the law, for usefulness and resources. Sometimes, they are one and the same.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Yep.  The initial remark is usually off-hand and friendly.  Any needed reminder, not so much.  The topic of possible staff cutbacks is quick to come up in that insiderish way adopted by senior fixers.

  12. Rugger9 says:

    If Felix is pointing out to the investigators where to look, that makes more sense. I’m not sure how long Vlad would tolerate it, especially if Mueller keeps indicting Russians.

  13. DD says:

     “Who doesn’t want to help bring about peace?” Mr. Cohen asked.


    “Fraud is never good, right?” Mr. Cohen said.

    Cohen sure has a way with words. One much like that of a highschooler in a Vice Principal’s office.

  14. Bay State Librul says:

    Please help this kid out.

    Is Nunes under investigation by the Special Counsel?

    His behavior is so more like a bad winter gutter blockage.

    It makes no sense, unless he is guilty.

    Mueller needs to indict this week as a countermeasure

    • Charles says:

      There’s no indication Nunes is under investigation.

      I do share your desire to see Nunes in handcuffs and agree that this week is one in which Mueller should let indictments do the shouting.

  15. Bay State Librul says:

    Understanding the Russian probe?

    The outbound train to a conspiracy.

    Maybe Tennessee Williams has a point, with the multiple characters, that enumerate the investigation which baffles us all…………

    “Things are not always explained. Situations are not always resolved. Characters don’t always ‘progress.’ … Williams understood that individuals are complex and mysterious not only to others but, more significantly, to themselves. He even said, “If you write a character that isn’t ambiguous you are writing a false character, not a true one.”

    • Trip says:

      I differ on one account. Trump is the most unambiguous non-empathetic, non-compassionate, greedy, attention starved, self-centered, one dimensional character, that he would make for an excellent DC or Marvel villain. He already has ridiculous comic-strip hair, a pursed anus mouth and orange skin, seen nowhere in the natural state of human beings.

  16. sillybill says:

    It seems to me the prosecutors in this case have spent a lot of time setting the pins up properly before sending the ball down the alley. This reflects their past experience setting up complex cases involving people who are generally more adept at misleading investigators than your average citizen. Some of these witnesses were associated with organized criminal groups, or intelligence orgs and they must be assumed to be familiar with the standard techniques used by investigators.

    I read the Buzzfeed article about Sater and the one thing that really stands out to me is the number of FBI, DOJ, and intelligence officials willing to go to bat for the guy. Some of them think of him as a genuine hero. The stories of him recruiting a Northern Alliance intel officer who gave him 5 of ObL’s sat phone numbers and of his work tracking down loose Stinger missiles, etc. will be powerful juju keeping him out of major trouble with the law, and could justify considerable effort keeping him safe from people who want him dead. He certainly doesn’t seem terribly worried about his future, and looks much healthier than some pics of his past.

    I also agree with SLF about the metadata (altho I don’t think it’s limited to that) – a classic counter intel scam is to bug someplace where all the suspects gather (in this case bugging all their phones and laptops) and then do something provocative to give them something to talk about.

  17. Trip says:

    Why would the FBI make such a big ‘show’, only to be turned away? They had to have known that they wouldn’t cakewalk into the jail, and that subtlety or discussions via intermediaries would be the effective course.

    Anastasia Vashukevich:
    FBI tried to contact ‘sex coaches’ in Thai jail
    The FBI agents contacted Thailand’s Immigration bureau last week to try to organize the meeting, the highly placed source in the department said.
    The request was refused by Thai officials because only legal representatives and family members of the detainees are permitted access to the detainees, added the source, who is not authorized to speak to media.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The rules in Thailand leave considerable room for maneuver.  The US retains considerable influence, so long as it remains non-obvious.  Here, I suspect that not everyone in the USG wanted the FBI to visit this particular prisoner.

      • Trip says:

        How so? Does someone in Thailand get benefits from the Kremlin, in deporting her back?

        Or, is the FBI doing a pretend game of, “Oh well, we tried to see her but couldn’t”?  Perhaps the FBI DID see her and this is a diplomatic cover?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I suspect the FBI did want to see these two.  Others in the USG did not want it to see them.  The benefits to Thailand flow from the US.  Why would they benefit Russia?  We’ll have to ask the White House.

  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump’s humiliating firing of Rex Tillerson – giving the Don that reality TV show high – his movement of Pompeo over to State and elevating torturer Gina Haspel to head the CIA, is giving the US more of Trump’s “Fuck You! Strong tweet to follow” mentality. Right wing wild man laughing stock, with a big gun. Pretty much sums up the situation.

    As for Haspel, she can be relied upon about as much as Dick Helms to support reforming the CIA.

    The MSM meme that “this has been coming” is silly. Any Trump meltdown or dramatic distraction “has been coming”. The next one will be predictable, too, except in when and how it happens and what it affects. Silly, too, is the White House’s lipstick that Trump wanted a “new team” before he headed off to meet the North Koreans. Any competent diplomat or negotiator would want an experienced, vetted team with which she had a lot of history before taking on a negotiation as explosive as that with North Korea.

    The MSM should stop normalizing the abnormal about this administration. Putting Abbie Normal’s brain into that musclebound US body is likely to come to no good, eh Frankie?

    • Trip says:

      Happy to see the Mel Brooks’ reference.

      Did Tillerson cross the red line, the last straw breaking the camel’s back, in blaming Putin/the Kremlin for the UK poisoning?

      The poisoning of an ex-Russian spy and his daughter with a military-grade nerve agent in the U.K. is “a really egregious act” that appears to have “clearly” come from Russia, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said hours before being replaced.

      Then this, a little too little, a little too late:

      Nevertheless, Tillerson said late Monday that it was not yet known “whether it came from Russia with the Russian government’s knowledge.”

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Unless the US has independently verified Porton Down’s analysis – and that would relate only to lab analysis – it is relying on the information received from Theresa May as back-up for Tillerson’s public comment.  The Brits might eventually reveal their entire case to the US.  But given Trump’s emotional dependence on Putin, it would likely share it not as a partner, but as an advocate hoping to persuade a non-believer.

        The out, the odd-shaped peg that Tillerson is trying to fit into that round hole, presumably relates to gaps in the evidence regarding delivery of the nerve agent and proof of Putin’s knowledge and intent to murder.

        Proof sufficient for open court might be a long time coming.  I don’t think there was that level of proof regarding Litvinenko.  The difference is probably between a preponderance of the evidence and proof beyond a reasonable doubt.  The former is usually the best one can get in government.

        • Trip says:

          No doubt, to all of it.

          And of course, in reality, there is always reasonable doubt calculated into any operation, through degrees of separation and plausible deniability. We won’t see Wikileaks releasing any strings of connection any time soon, unless it points elsewhere.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Pompeo’s appointment further promotes the break-and-don’t-fix-it approach to the State Department adopted by this administration.  It uses the same approach against the document, regulate, protect functions of other agencies such as Interior, the EPA and the CDC.

      • Trip says:

        Tillerson claims he wasn’t told he would be let go on Friday, as the Trump administration claimed. This adds fuel that the “Russia is responsible” blurt was his undoing.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          That would explain the timing, and supports the belief that Trump finds keeping Putin happy – and keeping himself out of prison – more important than doing the rest of his job.

        • Trip says:

          If Tillerson was sincere in his sentiment that public service is a ‘noble’ calling, he would become the most visible patriotic whistleblower in history. But he won’t. He’ll go on with his rich privileged life, under suspension of disbelief, and pretend that this was all normal, in the service of the US citizenry, and not the international oligarchs instead, which is the truth.

          • Anne says:

            Well said, in service to himself as well.  He’s a pathetic human being, along with the rest of them.

        • Dev Null says:

          @trip: AP says otherwise:

          WH official says chief of staff John Kelly called Tillerson Friday and again on Saturday. Both calls to Tillerson, the official says, warned that Trump was about to take imminent action if he did not step aside. When Tillerson didn’t act, Trump fired him.

          YMMV. “WH official” is not entirely confidence-inspiring.

          • Trip says:

            John Kelly was also proven to be a liar.  So in a circle of liars, who is telling the truth? Just because AP, CNN and a multitude of others are quoting the WH more than Tillerson, it doesn’t tip the scales toward which is fact. The WH gets the most coverage, unless Tillerson becomes a whistleblower, and I won’t be holding my breath.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Tillerson was out of the country for nearly a week and got the heave ho via twitter.  Not that Tillerson made any friends at State, who, had they known about this, would have given him a head’s up. Most of those senior enough to have that sort of grapevine have left.

        Trump is so cowardly, he’s pretending that he did tell Tillerson on Friday, an easily disprovable claim.

        As for our allies, they will see more chaos from a chaotic president.  They won’t be taken in by the GOP line that this staffing change is about the Sec. of State having a good relationship with Donald.  That changes overnight with Donald and frequently does.  The manner was typically childish, socially violent and humiliating, which says a lot about Trump.

  19. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Former UConn quarterback, Fox News production assistant, and Trump valet, John McEntee, escorted from the White House without his digital equipment or his coat, supposedly fired over security clearance issues – which means the things he’s done that prevent him from getting a permanent clearance.  Sounds like John Kelly imitating Donald Trump.

    Trump immediately employs McEntee on his 2020 re-election campaign.  Good way to allow him to keep paying his bills – so that he doesn’t have to sell his stories to the press – and to actively shut him up.  Everyone on the campaign presumably has to sign one of those carefully crafted Mickey Michael Cohen NDAs.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Kaitlan Collins at CNN reports that McEntee was fired because he is under active investigation by the DHS for “serious financial crimes”. My first thought on hearing Collins’s report was that McEntee had tried to cash a Trump paycheck, never a safe thing to do.  Apparently, the investigation is not Trump related.

      McEntee is only a few years out of UConn.  His first job was as a Fox News “production assistant” in NYC.  He left it to join the Trump campaign in August 2016.  That’s three months before Trump won.  Odds are any serious financial crimes would have been during his work at the White House.

      McEntee was essentially Trump’s “body man”, his valet, which means he arranged the personal side of Trump’s travels, much of which was to Trump’s own properties.  But Trump talks about anything in front of anybody.  So it’s possible McEntee overheard something that he felt he could act on to his financial benefit.  But the DHS is the investigating body, not the SEC or the Treasury, so insider trading seems out.  Perhaps McEntee used his WH access to help someone else further a crime.  The hits just keep on coming.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        As I mentioned previously, not all investigations are being led by Mueller.

        Bet this news of DHS investigation is a surprise to Nunes.

  20. orionATL says:

    about sater (miss wiki) – beside the fact he is said to have worked as a agent/spy for various federal agencies:

    -he was born in russia to russian parents

    -his father was a mafia boss under simeon mogelevitch

    -his family, which was jewish, immigrated to israel when felix was 8

    -he cut up a guy badly with the broken glass stem in a bar fight and spent a few months in prison

    -he was convicted in a “$40 mill stock fraud scheme” (wikipedia) organized by the russian mafia

     as for why the special counsel might not be anxious to interview him, it might be the traditional answer of getting info from all interesting others before tackling sater. 

     it also might be that involving sater in the osc investigation of trump collusion and crime would give the mighty wurlitzer and the party-before-constitution-and-country, save-trump’s-ass, nunes republicans something else to yowl about as they did with the fbi and the fisa warrant for carter page. my money is on this last.

    • orionATL says:

      as for the intriguing question of why felix sater, lifelong criminal by appearances, might feel free to walk the streets safely, i’d guess it could be because he is valuable to mogelevitch and company. if nothing else, he can chat with whomever about what he knows about what is going on inside the fbi, cia, doj, etc. – mr. inside.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        He’s a Roy Cohn kinda guy.  Knows everybody, does favors for same.  Probably knows where a lot of bodies are buried and has an info-release kill switch.  Better than policy from MetLife.

    • SteveB says:

      Perhaps Trump should now be worried that not only did the Russians Israelis Turks and others have insiders in his campaign but so did the Feds in the shape of Sater. How would Sater be described in the FISA warrant applications?

  21. SteveB says:

    Re McEntee

    What Financial Crimes come under the purview of Dept HomelandSecurity,? Maybe a fraudulent contracting venture?

    • Trip says:

      I’m sure you’ve looked it up, but here are some potential areas of ‘interest’:

      HSI has broad legal authority to enforce a diverse array of federal statutes. It uses this authority to investigate all types of cross-border criminal activity, including:
      •    Financial crimes, money laundering and bulk cash smuggling;
      •    Commercial fraud and intellectual property theft;
      •    Cybercrimes;
      •    Human rights violations;
      •    Human smuggling and trafficking;
      •    Immigration, document and benefit fraud;
      •    Narcotics and weapons smuggling/trafficking;
      •    Transnational gang activity;
      •    Export enforcement; and,
      •    International art and antiquity theft.

      @earlofhuntingdon said he’s only a few years out of university, so he really hit the ground running on criminality, huh?

  22. Peacerme says:

    Basically, (let me clarify my emotion mind, unscientific reaction). It feels as if Putin currently has control over our president and therefore, several republican leaders. Too many republicans are rolling over for Trump (er Putin). I cannot recall any other human being who has been allowed to influence this presidents behavior.  But Putin, it’s very easy to see, has the power of influence over Trump. Does any one else? Anyone? Buehler? Buehler? Mueller?

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