July 22, 2016: The Sater and Cohen Deal Gets Handed Off To Millian and Papadopoulos?

Last night on TV, Anthony Cormier said that the negotiations between Michael Cohen and Felix Sater actually continued into July, but that the later discussions were on encrypted chats that got deleted.

We know that Sater was at Trump Tower on July 21, 2016, because he bought some campaign swag that showed up in FEC filings. (h/t Andrew Rice on Twitter)

Sater told POLITICO he was unaware he had exceeded the maximum contribution. Informed that purchases of campaign paraphernalia count as contributions, Sater said he had bought campaign merchandise in the basement of Trump Tower last month. He said he made two $2,700 contributions to the Trump campaign online through his iPad.

The purchase of campaign merchandise and two contributions for $2,700 each are all dated July 21 in the FEC filing.

That same day, George Papadopoulos signaled something to Ivan Timofeev about Trump’s RNC speech.

“How are things [Timofeev]? Keep an eye on the speech tonight. Should be good.”

The next day is almost certainly when Sergei Millian first started cultivating Papadopoulos.

Millian’s cultivation of Papadopoulos likely explains this reference in the affidavit supporting Papadopoulos’ arrest, showing Papadopoulos asking Ivan Timofeev over Facebook on July 22, 2016 for any information he had on someone he was about to meet for the first time (see my timeline here).

“If you know any background of him that is noteworthy before I see him, kindly send my way.”

That would say that, on the same day WikiLeaks released the DNC emails — which itself took place a day after Papadopoulos signaled something about Trump’s RNC speech to Timofeev — Millian started cultivating Papadopoulos, who apparently had started spending more time in NYC.

That relationship would lead to a proposed business deal between Millian and Papadopoulos — basically as cut-outs for the business deal that Cohen and Sater started.

Mr. Trump’s improbable victory raised Mr. Papadopoulos’s hopes that he might ascend to a top White House job. The election win also prompted a business proposal from Sergei Millian, a naturalized American citizen born in Belarus. After he had contacted Mr. Papadopoulos out of the blue over LinkedIn during the summer of 2016, the two met repeatedly in Manhattan.


Mr. Millian proposed that he and Mr. Papadopoulos form an energy-related business that would be financed by Russian billionaires “who are not under sanctions” and would “open all doors for us” at “any level all the way to the top.”

One billionaire, he said, wanted to explore the idea of opening a Trump-branded hotel in Moscow. “I know the president will distance himself from business, but his children might be interested,” he wrote.

Apparently, a new witness recently went to the FBI to describe Papadopoulos’ continued involvement in this deal — and his direct ties to Trump.

The letter, dated November 19 and obtained last week by The Atlantic, was sent to Democratic Representative Adam Schiff’s office by an individual who claims to have been close to Papadopoulos in late 2016 and early 2017. The letter was brought to the attention of Schiff and House Intelligence Committee staff, according to an aide who requested anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. The letter was also obtained by federal authorities, who are taking its claims “very seriously,” said two U.S. officials who also requested anonymity because of the sensitivities of the probe.

The statement makes a series of explosive but uncorroborated claims about Papadopoulos’s alleged coordination with Russians in the weeks following Trump’s election in November 2016, including that Papadopoulos said he was “doing a business deal with Russians which would result in large financial gains for himself and Mr. Trump.” The confidant—whose name The Atlantic is withholding on request but whose identity is known to congressional and federal investigators—stated a willingness to take a polygraph test “to prove that I am being truthful” and had come forward now after seeing Papadopoulos “become increasingly hostile towards those who are investigating him and his associates.” A lawyer for Papadopoulos declined to comment.


The confidant who sent the letter to Schiff’s office last week claimed to have witnessed a phone call between Papadopoulos and Trump in December 2016, around the same time that Papadopoulos was allegedly boasting about the Russia deal and sending emails to Flynn and Trump’s campaign CEO, Steve Bannon. In one email, Flynn urged Papadopoulos to “stay in touch, and, at some point, we should get together.” Trump has called Papadopoulos “a coffee boy” who played no meaningful role on the campaign.

In his sentencing memorandum, Papadopoulos alluded to his concern about getting the job he expected in the Trump Administration (on which the deal with Millian was premised) to explain why he lied to the FBI in January 2017.

The agents asked George to accompany them to their office to answer a “couple questions” regarding “a guy in New York that you might know[,] [t]hat has recently been in the news.” George thought the agents wanted to ask him about Russian businessman Sergei Millian. Wanting clarification, he asked the agents, “…just so I understand, I’m going there to answer questions about this person who I think you’re talking about.” The agents assured George that the topic of discussion was Mr. Millian who had been trending in the national media.

En route to the FBI office, George voiced concern about the repercussions of his cooperation ever becoming public because the Wall Street Journal had just reported that Sergei Millian was a key source in the “Trump Dossier” controversy. George explained that he was in discussions with senior Trump administration officials about a position and the last thing he wanted was “something like this” casting the administration in a bad light.


George knew Mr. Millian only as a businessman pitching an opportunity to George in his personal capacity. The agents asked how they first met, what they discussed, how often they talked or met in person, if George knew whether Mr. Millian was connected to Russia or a foreign intelligence service, and who else on Mr. Trump’s campaign may have been in contact with Mr. Millian.


George found himself personally conflicted during the interrogation as he felt obligated to assist the FBI but also wanted to distance himself and his work on the Trump campaign from that investigation. Attempting to reconcile these competing interests, George provided information he thought was important to the investigation while, at the same time, misleading the agents about the timing, nature, and extent Case 1:17-cr-00182-RDM Document 45 Filed 08/31/18 Page 9 of 16 10 of his contacts with Professor Mifsud, Olga, and Ivan Timofeev. In his answers, George falsely distanced his interactions with these players from his campaign work. At one point, George told the agents that he did not want to “get too in-depth” because he did not know what it would mean for his professional future.


Out of loyalty to the new president and his desire to be part of the administration, he hoisted himself upon his own petard.

All of that suggests the deal was still on in January 2017, and Papadopoulos was trying to preserve his opportunity to serve as a cut-out for the deal and so lied to the FBI.

Mind you, it may be that the deal was not entirely handed off. Glenn Simpson told HPSCI that Fusion had substantiated ties between Millian and Cohen (though I hope he looked further than Twitter).

And then, you know, as further time went on, we found he was connected to Michael Cohen, the President’s lawyer. And eventually, after boasting about a lot of this stuff on camera, on tape, to the TV network, he backed away from all of it suddenly when the Russia controversy began to get hot.

And Michael Cohen was very adamant that he didn’t actually have a connection to Sergi, even though he was one of only like 100 people who followed Sergi on Twitter. And they — we had Twitter messages back and forth between the two of them just – we just pulled them off of Twitter.

In a blockbuster follow-up to their May report that laid out all this Trump Tower stuff, Buzzfeed hints at other people Cohen was in contact with, who also were involved in the hack and leak operation.

Two FBI agents with direct knowledge of the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations told BuzzFeed News earlier this year that Cohen was in frequent contact with foreign individuals about the real estate venture — and that some of these individuals had knowledge of or played a role in 2016 election meddling. The identity of those individuals remains unknown.

Which of course would make it unsurprising if July 22, the same day WikiLeaks released the DNC emails, was the day the real estate deal backing it up would get handed off to further obscure it.

Update: In this really report on Cohen’s plea, Rudy sounds like he’s not sure whether the deal went forward or not.

“The president, as far as he knows, he remembers there was such a proposal for a hotel,” Giuliani said. “He talked it over with Cohen as Cohen said. There was a nonbinding letter of intent that was sent. As far as he knows it never came to fruition. That was kind of the end of it.”

92 replies
  1. Trip says:


    M Cohen wrote the letter and it got the ball rolling on his rapid guilty plea? Just a random guess, could be anyone.

    I wonder if we’ll ever find any shady real estate deals involving Hannity, too.

    If this is true about Papadopoulos, he really pushed his luck. He could have been done with it all already, but he kept screeching on twitter.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Papa seems as obtuse and self-destructive as Trump, and not much smarter.  Presumably, he was expecting a big pay-day for acting as a cut-out on various Russian deals, which would have encouraged him to push them as hard as he could.

      That he imagined he could do that while contemplating taking up a WH job that would require obtaining a security clearance is evidence of the la-la-land he and others in Trump’s orbit were living in.  It is also evidence that the Russians, at least, would have considered Papa a patsy – one of many in the Trump camp.

      The target-rich environment in that camp seems so improbable, Russian spy schools would probably have dismissed it as too unrealistic to be used in their training programs.

      • Greenhouse says:

        You don’t understand. Papa coulda had class. He coulda been a contender. He coulda been somebody, instead of a bum with a one way ticket to palookaville.

      • BobCon says:

        “That he imagined he could do that while contemplating taking up a WH job that would require obtaining a security clearance is evidence of the la-la-land he and others in Trump’s orbit were living in.”

        I can pretty much guarantee that during the transition period somebody told Trump and his higher ups that a President can wave a magic wand and make security clearance problems go away. In theory, that’s true, but the reality is a whole lot messier.  I look forward to the House taking a hard look at the White House’s security clearances, and unlike a lot of potential issues, I think the records will be well documented.

      • Peterr says:

        That he imagined he could do that while contemplating taking up a WH job that would require obtaining a security clearance is evidence of the la-la-land he and others in Trump’s orbit were living in.

        I think this is part of the executive fantasy world in which Trump and many of his flunkies live. In that world, security clearances are handed out as favors to those whom Trump trusts, and have nothing to do with your past activities or your actual need to know something to do your job. “The only guy you need to please is Trump, not the FBI or OPM or anyone else.”

        This is the same world in which Trump uses his old phone rather than a secure WH-provided phone, because it’s too much trouble to add contacts when you get a new phone.

    • orionATL says:

      yes. papadoupolos really pushed his luck.

      now it’d be a pleasure to see that whining smuck

      get re-indicted and stuck

      with doing ten in the slammer.

      what is more important to me is to learn that popodoupolos was far, far more deeply involved in trump business affairs, though initially merely a campaign member, then we have known. trump claims not to know the guy, claims he was a sort of hanger-on, when in fact papadoupoulous was the second tier negotiator behind cohen for a big-deal business deal for trump in moscow, not only while trump was a candidate and being evaluated by voters, but after trump was elected to the presidency. and the guy kept media dates for months after his osc question-and-answer and plea bargain was over doing his jesus on the cross imitation.

      makes me wonder what trump, inc. might have had others of these secondary figures, hangers-on to the campaign, doing for trump. well, osc did interview one of the key executives in trump, inc., right?

      chuzpah all around!

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Yea, some coffee boy. But that’s how Trump looks at everyone in his Cabinet. Everyone’s a coffee boy except family, although I think Don Jr. and Eric qualify as towels boys because they can swim.

        • orionATL says:


          and speaking of grifting, if they ever do the trump-moscow let’s hope they get the front entrance done in a more taxi&visitor friendly mode than the entrance to the trump-baku.

  2. flounder2 says:

    Does this series of events line up just as well if there is an energy side-deal (Rosneft) in addition to the real-estate one?

    • orionATL says:

      yeah. that was my first thought, too. fact is, the nytimes borrows from here all the time.

      maybe that makes up for all the cites i take from them :)

    • emptywheel says:

      They did a frankly shitty job (aside from the pretty pictures). It’s not consistent as to what they’re reporting nor is it helpful to understand the investigation. I’m going to update mine, soon, been meaning to for a while.

      • orionATL says:

        take it as a compliment, ew – they can recognize material that would be genuinely interesting to many thoughtful readers.

        look for human interest personal stories on these folks next. then their blessed anonynymity will be broken and their lives scoured by media corporations looking for their next buck.

      • jf-fl says:

        I know a little more about Glenn Simpson + Fusion than I do about EW, but a lot of what they do is similiar… start with researching publicly available materials.

        My general entrepreneurial guess is GPS starts with cheaper public resources to de-risk certain areas for a client, which then gives them more information on areas they could pay more for deeper/more expansive methods (orbis/etc).   Glenn Simpson was a journalist (WSJ) before he started GPS.

        I find simpson very credible but the formats of the orbis reports are foreign and incredibly vague to me.   When I first read them I thought it was complete sillyness, but over time as convictions pour in I re-read them, and they would’ve been closer than anything I would’ve guessed even being exposed to a lot of the anecdotal reporting.

        One thing in dossier that has gotten underplayed is it’s tip-off of the offering in gasprom, this was an extremely specific event mentioned by orbis sources which actually occured and it’s one of the most clearest examples of something which clearly had no other reporting (or none that I could find anyhow).    Dossier alleged that carter page was offered to give a brokerage fee to Trump from this transaction (1% of 20b = 200m), which I think occurred in july or august (after the convention).    This also fits w/EW hypothesis it would be more attractive to layer out quid via multiple parties as a way to maintain leverage over the person, than to give the person an enormous tower with his name on it in the middle of your capital city.

  3. Jim195 says:

    Slightly OT, but I now fully accept Marcy’s surmise that Mueller deliberately let Manafort continue to lie until Trump handed in his answers. The main reason is that those lies would have come in one or a few at a time, and would have been known as lies in real time. The Mueller team would have conferred about whether or not to bring the hammer down immediately, and they did not. The second reason is that all the other cards–here, with respect to Cohen and Papadopoulos, have been played so expertly. It makes it hard to imagine them being played for fools (as Kevin White has argued) by Manafort.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I suspect that Mueller’s team imagine that the political shit storm from attempting to indict or impeach this president will be so violent, they need an overwhelming case that can be readily sold to Congress and the public.

      Lindsey Graham’s recent dismissive reference to a “process crime” – meaning not a crime worth a prosecutor’s time to pursue – supports the argument.  Graham’s comment amounts to a teacup of oil poured on a rising sea.  The full GOP dark arts defense of Trump might make Voldemort jealous.  The whole GOP is riding on avoiding such an ignominious downfall for their grifter-in-chief.

      Mueller wants a case that will persuade the GOP to forego that and tell the Don to go home, following Nixon’s trail.  The Don is unlikely to heed that unlikely advice.  If he did, he would demand a Nixon-like pardon that only Chuck Schumer would back.

      • SaabMadoxSaab says:

        Is “a teacup of oil poured on a rising sea” an idiom of some sort?  Because I would love to be able to use it in legal briefing when picking apart opponents’ arguments.

        • RLHall says:

          I read once that ancient sailors would pour out oil to calm turbulent waters.

          I  agree with the Earl, that a cup wouldn’t be enough to do the trick.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          The usual analogy for riding out trouble is, “to pour oil on troubled waters.”

          It is an old maneuver, to be used in extremis.  Oil temporarily reduces surface wave action.  That blunts the effects of waves breaking against a ship’s hull, reducing pounding that could rupture planks or sheeting or tear away steering gear.  Makes it easier to steer and maintain heading.  Does not reduce swells or the wind.  But if it’s needed, a ship is usually trying to stay afloat and ride out a storm.

          A cup of oil would be quickly dissipated and of not much help.  Lindsey is saying that he’s on team Trump, come hell or high water.

          • swmarks says:

            You must sail yourself. Only a sailor would refer to sails as sheets. As in three sheets to the wind, like many appear to be in Trumpland.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Also remember that the entire GOP was involved in this, from Pence, McTurtle, Ryan on down (DeSantis, new Governor and Gaetz of FL both are linked to the Soviets Russian hacks) and so they will not permit any investigation to harm themselves.

        That cannot be swept aside or bargained away by Schumer in a “bipartisan healing” exercise.

        • Rayne says:

          They’re nearly all compromised by NRA-laundered money. Really, how do we know which GOP received Russian money if it all went into the same NRA pot, doled out by the same NRA people in the same way it has been for years? The NRA and possibly RNC know and they don’t want to tip their hands to say at risk of further incrimination.

          It’s going to take a really massive shit storm arising from the investigations combined with collective Oscar-worthy acting for GOP MOC to play both dumb and angry in order to vote for impeachment and removal.

      • benchpressbilly says:

        I kind of think that Fox is 100 percent ready to spin, dismiss, and both-sides anything that comes out of the special counsel.We’re going to see an even more unhinged FOX when more people get indicted. I assume Chep Smith and Brett Baier will report whats really happening(more or less), but the viewers will ignore them, and call them secret fake news liberals. Last night Tucker was carrying on about Comey “lying” to congress when he said that the Steele Dossier wasn’t used to acquire the FISA warrants. One of his wingnut lawyers was saying that the DOJ never prosecutes liberals. Just Republicans.

    • orionATL says:

      i suspect public corruption, or corrupt practices by public officials, have a kind of rhythm to them whatever the particular context. i expect many of the osc prosecutors have experience with that rhythm as it applies to their particular field of legal specialization, e.g., money laundering.

  4. greengiant says:

    Re-Up on the reminder that crooks have a tendency to plant false trails for the purpose of suing for libel at a later date and discrediting investigators. Something people who were annoying Felix Sater can attest to. The recent Guardian WIkileaks dust up comes to mind as a possibility.

  5. Steve says:

    I think you are conflating two different threads. Papadopoulos is an energy guy and the deal with Millian is an energy deal. Cohen and Sater are the real estate guys who would do the Moscow tower deal. Plus the letter to Schiff says that Papadopoulos claimed he was set for life in January 2017. That implies that whatever deal he was doing was already done. The energy deal that closed before January 2017 is Rosneft. That is the real story potentially. The Rosneft deal is the holy grail. It is certainly much more significant than some cheesy gold plated hotel in Moscow that would only have a licensing deal for the president. This isn’t to downplay the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act problems with Putin’s $50 million penthouse. If Cohen connects the president to the offer of the penthouse, then the game may be over.

    • Rayne says:

      I think you are missing the frequency with which the Trump organization and family have used real estate for money laundering and how often Russians were involved in Trump organization real estate deals around the world.

      • Steve says:

        Not missing that at all.  The entire Trump empire may be built on money laundering that even pre-dates the Russians.  Certainly the Russians upped the ante though.  But I don’t think Papadopolous was doing a real estate deal.  He is an energy guy.  In fact, it was specifically an energy deal according to the reporting and Papadopolous didn’t get “set for life” by a Moscow real estate deal that never happened.  Real estate deals are in Trump’s world.  They may all be dirty but he knows how to find them.  The Rosneft deal isn’t in Trump’s world and it looks like it may be an outright gratuity by Putin.  Rosneft is where the real story is at.  Don’t get me wrong, this is all a real story and all of this stuff would be the downfall of a president in normal times.  But Rosneft, if true, is one of the biggest political story in the history of the country, far exceeding Watergate.

        • Rayne says:

          Choir. Preaching. But the lure to Trump is real estate. It’s what he knows. Speak that language already made common by previous deals, customize it with the narcissist’s brand name and he’s owned. He’d already had a multitude of offshore vehicles created to launder other Russian money in sync with real estate, making him the perfect tool compared to any other candidate.

          They came very close to outright walking away with it after Tillerson was named SecState but apparently his corruption had a limit.

      • orionATL says:

        i don’t know what type of energy was involved with any rosneft deal, but i would assume natural gas, this being russia. there are parts of the world, latin america for one, where raw oil (barrels) and money laundering go hand-in-hand. can you launder money with cu. ft.* of gas😕?

        cu.cm. of gas?

        • orionATL says:

          hmm. it turns out that cu. ft., the standard way to measure gas volume in the u.s., is not a convenient conversion to metric.

          1 cu. ft. = 0.028316 cu. metres or

          1 cu. ft. = 28316 cubic centimeters

          it looks like cubic metres is the common metric measure for gas, but also kilojoules when measuring energy, not volume.

          what are big numbers when you’ve got computers and scientific notation going for you?

        • Rayne says:

          Rosneft is an oil and gas company, more specifically the largest oil producer in Russia. It had an agreement with Exxon (hello, former SecState Rex Tillerson) going back to 2011 to jointly develop arctic reserves.

          The value of the arctic reserves under this agreement, IIRC, was USD$1T to $3T. The value of this agreement fell dramatically when oil prices dropped because Iranian oil reentered the market as part of P5+1 agreement. Ample motivation to fuck with an election in addition to threats to gas revenues via Gazprom’s pipeline through Ukraine and a multitude of hassles from sanctions.

          Exxon left the deal in May this year because of sanctions in 2016 on top of previous sanctions in 2014 due to Crimea.

          The laundering wasn’t oil or gas — it was investment interest in Rosneft which is a near-cash equivalent. A key reason Russia wanted Trump elected was to ditch the sanctions as well as get around Magnitsky Act and extractive industry monitoring so they could more easily move the investment around.

          There’s more than one country involved in this, too. Some of them were dealing with Cohen.

          • orionATL says:

            damn. that’s a lot of useful info in one little paragraph.

            how could i not have guessed that oil in the akaskan and canadian arctic probably meant oil in the russian arctic.

            and then, in politics, follow the money. mining and selling energy is virtually the entirety of putin’s economic plan, if it can be called that.


            • Rayne says:

              Yeah…well, think about what happens if nothing is done to mitigate climate change and the arctic continues to melt. All kinds of oil and gas development become possible across the entire Arctic while the world burns.

              Now you know why these monsters in office right now aren’t doing dick to improve energy efficiency or invest in sustainable non-carbon alternative energy. They just want access to oil for money so they can build themselves a nice little apocalypse-proof dacha on the former-Arctic-Circle-now-Arctic-Ocean-front.

            • Steve says:

              Ranye is correct.  Roseneft isn’t money laundering per se.  Roseneft was owned by the Russian government and British Petroleum which owned about 25% if my memory is correct. In December, Russia sold 19.5% of the company to Qatar (19% roughly) and unknown third parties (.5% roughly). BP didn’t even know the sale was contemplated until the day it closed.  However, six months earlier Steele reported that the Russians offered Carter Page a “brokerage” commission on a sale of 19%. The commission on a sale would normally equate to about .5% if it is a 19% deal.  So, Steele knew about the deal six months before the second largest shareholder of Roseneft knew about it.  Funny part is it is a mystery who got the .5%.   Nobody can figure it out.  But there have been estimates that the .5% is worth about $277 million.  Certainly, even a small commission on the $277 million would be enough to set most people for life.

  6. Drew OH says:

    I read Marcy and crews reporting here and my head spins, I read the comments and think “…wow, there are some really smart people out there really trying to uncover and discuss the fine details here, why does my head hurt so much?!”

    So can Papa can no be indicted again here for further obstruction if the above is all “proven” to be true? WTF are these guys thinking?  What pay-offs and riches is he ultimately expecting in the future as a convicted felon associated with Trump-world? Ollie North, Scooter Libby like pay outs and jobs handed to them by the Republican machine? Will that really happen with the Trump associates when they’re all charged especially since they’re not really Republicans to begin with, just grifters with the backing of a mob owned government that has nukes?

    Deutsche Bank just got raided again yesterday, after we find out that VTB agreed to fund the Trump Moscow project; coincidence? Cohen pleads guilty to lying to Congress for how long he was involved with this deal so it matched Individual 1’s political narrative, and now maybe this deal might have still been going on after he was elected through others??! Let alone that those working to throw the election from Russia were also aware of the Trump Moscow deal too?? What?!

    Cohen’s plea deal on lying to Congress is a big deal, Mueller proved he would do this, that’s been settled now. And of course everyone that testified now should be shaking in their boots especially if they were playing along with Trump-world.

    My birthday is January 3rd, so what am I going to get for my Birthday this year? A right wing religious nut as our new President or will Individual 1 do everything he can to destroy the United States as his house of cards comes crumbling down?

    Funny during the campaign I completely agreed that Trump and crew were following a Nixonian model here, now we need to add Agnew to that too (Witch Hung, smearing the Justice Dept., etc.). Perhaps the “stable genius” isn’t aware of how those stories ended; how many went to jail for Watergate? How good will Ivanka look in prison orange?

    This is the greatest intelligence coup of all time, little doubt and Putin and crew must be completely blown away the amount of damage that’s been done, how easy it was to do, how cheap and how LONG this is all taking!!!

    Time for NY or VA to file State charges against Paulie just in case…

      • Rayne says:

        Welcome back to emptywheel. You currently have multiple usernames at this site. Please stick to the same one each time you comment so community members get to know you. Thanks.

    • koolmoe says:

      The Deutsch Bank raid is intriguing. Who’s son worked for them and helped facilitate Trump loans? Wasn’t that Justice Kennedy’s son? The same Kennedy who retired with a sly recommendation for Kavanaugh?

      From a puddle to a pool to a lake to a massive ocean of backroom dealing, corrupt connections, and overall corruption. Disheartening.

  7. klynn says:


    You are the picture of self control…each day is a bit closer to the “freedom to share” your story. That  “new witness” timeline above is amazing and curious.

  8. Trip says:

    Paul Manafort Sells Florida Mansion To His Wife For The Price Of Two Lattes

    Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, signed a deed on Oct. 25 in his Virginia prison that transferred his five-bedroom mansion in Florida’s Palm Beach Gardens to his wife for $10. The document, witnessed by two members of his legal team and stamped with the seal of a Virginia notary, was filed five days later with the Palm Beach County Clerk.

    [FYI: URL edited to remove tracking ID. Come on, Trip. /~Rayne]

        • Rayne says:

          It varies a little from website to website, but here’s a WaPo example:

          https:// www. washingtonpost .com/investigations/trumps-acting-attorney-general-once-referred-to-the-presidents-behavior-as-a-little-dangerous-and-a-little-outlandish/2018/11/30/722d3ebc-f49f-11e8-bc79-68604ed88993_story.html ?utm_term=.30bb4aa48d3c

          I’ve added some blank spaces to deactivate the link — note at the very tail end after .html, beginning with the question mark? That’s a unique identifier assigned to the PC and browser that opened the link.

          It’s best to copy links, paste them into a plain text editor like Notepad, delete the identifier, then copy-and-paste the sanitized link into a comment.

          Of course a website will know where you came from and where you are going once you visit their site, but they won’t know what machine furnished the link. :-)

        • orionATL says:

          as i have been taught here by helpful others,

          start at the end (right side) of the cite and delete all symbols (letters, numbers, punctuation) up to but not including the question mark.

          oops. read rayne. she knows. the most detaiiled explanation i’ve read yet.

          use tirefox focus. your troubles will be over.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The filing fees cost more than that ten dollars.  But this is a gift transfer between spouses.  It has no effect for the usual purposes of income or loss for either spouse.  Nor will it affect any valuation relevant to Mueller or any involved lenders.

      If Paulie has other lenders, they could and would challenge the valuation.  Another issue is whether it is free and clear or mortgaged. If it’s mortgaged, the lender would have to consent to it.

  9. klynn says:

    OT…if you post on the voter fraud debates going on in FL, AZ and NC, you might want to re-up the Green County post from Oct 2008!

  10. Rusharuse says:

    50 Things I Didn’t Learn At Wharton (but should have) #9

    Never fire the FBI director in the most humiliating way possible and assume the karma train won’t jump the tracks, hunt you down and run right over your fat arse.

    • Steve says:

      In his defense, in the business world, having “a degree from Wharton” means that one holds a Wharton MBA.  I’ve never heard anyone, other than Mr. T, suggest that an undergrad economics degree came “from Wharton.”

      The ramifications of karma are apparently a grad school level topic.

  11. Eureka says:

    OK, so maybe I wasn’t fever dreaming to think the latest Cohen-related revelations might bifurcate into ‘Coffee Boy I Don’t Know Him Tower,’ and ‘Cohen was informed on the hacks/leaks’ strands. The latter seemed too hopeful but makes more sense than not given Cohen’s adjacency to all the dirty works.  I can’t recall now the other  places/times this possible knowledge of Cohen’s has been pointed to*- maybe the audio interview with Stephanopoulos was one place?  Non-denial denials?  My mind is blurring from that era of Avenatti provocations about what Cohen ‘knows’ and ‘will say,’ and sliding into Emily Jane Fox reports.

    Now to more explicitly wonder about the question of Sater keeping the deal-making to Cohen and himself: 
    Sater says,

    “I explained that ONLY you will be negotiating all the details.  I want to make sure no one tries to go around us, that’s why I said that.” (May 4 2016 part of BuzzFeed texts).

    I was wondering who else at Trump Org he may have been trying to keep out of the deal (like a Junior- or Jared-type comes to mind).  I was also wondering- but this is where I don’t know enough about Sater- if his informant past related at all to his wanting to keep proximity to the deal not just for money /cache/reputational purposes, but also for top-shelf information.  Best of all possible worlds bet- hedging.  I further wondered if- because of his informant past- others possibly caught later in the stream of this info might cry some sort of entrapment blah blah.  (Well, they will say anything for PR purposes.)  But I don’t know enough about Sater and his overall reputation/schtick/social prowess or connections to know if these are plausible issues.

    *I mean besides this post, BuzzFeed (and in general my comment is occasioned by those posts plus ew’s HuffPo today and the Cohen Testimony post yesterday (etc.)).

  12. mrtmbrnmn says:

    Marcy should know as well as anyone that Papadopolous was one of the gormless dupes trolled by the various MI-6 and CIA cutouts and assorted ex-KGB stooges engaged in Operation “Crossfire Hurricane” to infect the clueless Trump campaign with the PutinDidIt poison Hillary could use to regime change Putin after her certain victory.  Ooops!  Popadopolous then became the perfect mug and low-hanging fruitloop for a Mueller-contrived perjury trap when the gambit was repurposed to regime change Trump.  And who but such a mug gets a 14-day Federal prison sentence?  Cohen the slimey taxi lawyer is another ridiculous mug, who couldn’t recognize a Russian “schnorer” when he saw one.

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    A few observations about the Trump Tower Moscow project’s proposal to give a $50 million penthouse to Vladimir Putin.

    Trump Tower Moscow would have been a mega-project:  Getting permits.  Obtaining the high-cost real estate, virtually impossible without using government’s eminent domain power and a lot of political juice.  (The Dodger stadium debacle in L.A. would be peanuts in comparison.)  Finding an oligarch or several to back it.  Getting commitments and follow-through for necessary Russian-sourced bank loans for construction and operations.  Appeasing a multitude of organized crime figures with an interest in real estate, construction and operations.  Building or designating new roadways and traffic patterns.  Hiring and training workers.  The proverbial laundry list, all in the high-stakes, high-visibility Russian capital.

    Doing any of that in Moscow at the scale and over the period of time required would be virtually impossible without Putin’s active support.  That’s a lot of juice, very expensive juice.

    So, yea, there would have been quid pro quos aplenty between dangling a $50 million freebie for the sitting Russian president and obtaining the necessary governmental (and big business, and organized crime) approvals for the project, and to finance, build and operate it.  For a project of that size and scope, in fact, $50 million would have been a down payment. [A quid pro quo is needed to establish bribery and FCPA claims.]

    The idea that the rationale for giving Putin the penthouse was to help sell other units in the completed building is plausible.  But in the grand scheme of things, it’s an insulting distraction from the enduring need for Putin’s continuing, active cooperation and support.  So enduring that a guy with his name on the building would have been bent over a barrel for a lifetime.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      There’s also the impact on and objections from existing hotel, casino and other competitors to a would be Trump Tower Moscow.  That would require a lot of political juice and the doling out money and other favors – or breaking a few things – to keep the peace.

      There’s the potential use of the property by the Russian security services: Lots of jobs, data, and intel, lots of baksheesh, lots of honey traps. Then there are the gambling and money laundering opportunities. 

      As I see it, the Don should be thankful the deal fell through. He would have been trying to work on it all this time, while pretending not to run all his other businesses, and pretending to be President.  And that would have made Bob Mueller’s job easier.

      But it does not take completed acts to complete crimes. Planning and action toward a crime is itself a crime: It’s an attempt or a conspiracy. Just something for the Don to think about while he travels back from Argentina after his extended bout of executive time alone in his hotel suite.

    • SAO says:

      If Trump’s tower was going to be anywhere near the center of Moscow, no roads were going to be built. It would be like expecting to put a building on 5th avenue in Manhattan and thinking the city will let you change traffic patterns or change roads.

      • cat herder says:

        Rayne, is it just my imagination, or do Marcy’s posts about the fringe weirdo hangers-on in Trump’s orbit attract a certain flavor of fringe weirdo up-is-down trolls?

    • Michael says:


      WTF is up with the word salad, NYT? I am not tempted.
      (And there are more reasons that NYT is not among my “Favorites”.)

      • Trip says:

        FBI Investigations began on some people prior to the election. (which after determining Kremlin involvement in hacks, they should have, to determine if there were insider accomplices)

        Some excerpts:

        The facts, had they surfaced, might have devastated the Trump campaign: Mr. Trump’s future national security adviser was under investigation, as was his campaign chairman. One adviser appeared to have Russian intelligence contacts. Another was suspected of being a Russian agent himself…Agents feared being seen as withholding information or going too easy on her. And they worried that any overt actions against Mr. Trump’s campaign would only reinforce his claims that the election was being rigged against him…But those who saw the investigation up close, and many of those who have reviewed case files in the past year, say that far from gunning for Mr. Trump, the F.B.I. could actually have done more in the final months of 2016 to scrutinize his campaign’s Russia ties.


        Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, said that after studying the investigation as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he saw no evidence of political motivation in the opening of the investigation. “There was a growing body of evidence that a foreign government was attempting to interfere in both the process and the debate surrounding our elections, and their job is to investigate counterintelligence,” he said in an interview. “That’s what they did.”

        They probably shouldn’t have used some of the agents from the Clinton fiasco, but CLEARLY, they didn’t step up publicity or actively to stop Trump’s campaign. If they wanted Clinton to win, and that was their goal, they would have leaked info about it.

      • david sanger says:

        extra words are likely so that Google can properly index the page. Words found in the URL rank highly. That’s all.

  14. Jeff L says:

    There does seem to be an inherent contradiction in the notion that the plot to install Trump as POTUS is centered around a Trump Tower Moscow deal: being US President would preclude such a deal.  The only way to get away with it would be to keep it secret, and that might be a little difficult, considering it’s a “Trump Tower.” Has anyone addressed this apparent basic flaw with the Cohen narrative?

    • bmaz says:

      Have you addressed the thought that Trump did not expect to win and was trying to enrich himself and his family? No? Well then. Thanks for dropping by.

      • Jeff L says:

        But that’s part of the paradox. The plan depended upon the sanctions being lifted, both to give Putin his quo for the quid of the Tower deal, and to unlock the VTB funding, which Trump couldn’t access with sanctions in place.  As such, the plan required Trump to win the presidency so he could deliver on lifting the sanctions. Like I said, Putin may have had an incentive to act since he gets something out of the operation either way, but for Trump, he can’t get his Tower if he wins or loses, so it makes no logical sense.  If he loses, he can’t deliver on the lifting of sanctions, so Putin has no reason to green light the Tower, and if he wins, the conflict of interest as head of state is too glaring, and the likelihood of emoluments clause violation too great, so no Tower that way either.
        Don’t get me wrong, I think Trump is guilty of impeachable offenses six ways from Sunday, but I’m having trouble seeing how the Tower deal in exchange for Russian election rigging makes any logical sense from Trump’s perspective.
        Maybe it wasn’t clear to Trump until later that lifting sanctions was what his part of the deal would have to be, and he realized that that meant the Tower deal couldn’t happen, so he abandoned that objective (circa late June 2016?) in favor a new objective of winning just the presidency, which offers its own rich set of possibilities to exploit for personal gain, albeit more of a long shot, but better than nothing.

          • Jeff L says:

            Their views on ethics and conflicts are moot. I’m talking about how the plan makes no sense for them, as it very obviously had no way of succeeding if the Tower was their objective.
            I’m starting to lean more towards the idea the Tower was the original objective, but at some point they (or at least Trump himself) had to abandon it and switch to a new objective (e.g. the presidency itself).  Meanwhile the Trump acolytes continued with the pursuit of their own associated side deals, or possibly even tried keeping the Tower deal on life support on their own, in hopes that somehow it could still come together down the road.

            • bmaz says:

              Their “views on ethics and conflicts” are anything but moot. Indeed they go to the very heart of criminal intent.

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