Felix Sater Promised a Putin Meeting with Michael Cohen Minutes after Don Jr Promised to Revisit Magnitsky Sanctions

BuzzFeed has posted the documents showing Michael Cohen and Felix Sater organizing a Trump Tower deal until June 14, literally as the news of the DNC hack broke. The documents show how closely those negotiations interacted with the June 9 meeting.

The Trump Tower meeting between Don Jr and Russians promising dirt was scheduled for 4PM (Rob Goldstone posted on Facebook that he was at Trump Tower at 3:57). Natalia Veselnitskaya ran a bit late, but they would have started the meeting by 4:10PM.

Four witnesses to the meeting (the four whose responses weren’t coached by Trump Organization lawyers) said that the meeting ended with Don Jr saying that his father might or would revisit Magnitsky sanctions if he became President.

Natalia Veselnitskaya said Don Jr said they’d revisit the topic.

Mr. Trump, Jr. politely wound up the meeting with meaningless phrases about somewhat as follows: can do nothing about it, “if’ or “when” we come to power, we may return to this strange and confusing story.

Ike Kaveladze said that Don Jr said they might revisit the issue if his father won.

There was no request, but as I said, it was a suggestion that if Trump campaign wins, they might get back to the Magnitsky Act topic in the future.

Rinat Akhmetshin said that Don Jr said they would revisit Magnitsky when they won.

A. I don’t remember exact words which were said, but I remember at the end, Donald, Jr., said, you know, “Come back see us again when we win.” Not “if we win,” but “when we win.” And I kind of thought to myself like, “Yeah, right.” But it happened, so — but that’s something, see, he’s very kind of positive about, “When we win, come back and see us again.” Something to that effect, I guess.

Anatoli Samochornov, Veselnitskaya’s translator, who is the most independent witness and the only one who didn’t compare his story with others, said that Don Jr said they would revisit the issue if Trump won.

A. Like I described, I remember, not verbatim, the closing that Mr. Donald Trump, Jr., provided, but that’s all that I recall being said from the other side.

MR. PRIVOR: That closing being that Donald Trump, Jr., suggested —

MR. SAMOCHORNOV: If or when yes, and I do not remember if or when, but if or when my father becomes President, we will revisit this issue.

The meeting lasted somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes.

At about that time, Trump tweeted out a reference to Hillary’s emails, invoking 823 staffers, which was a good ballpark estimate for how many staffers (including unpaid advisors) she really had at the time.

At that same time, Felix Sater texted Michael Cohen to tell him he was working on setting up Cohen’s trip to St. Petersburg.

At that point, Sater told Cohen there was a “very strong chance” he would meet Russia’s President, which Cohen and Don Jr would have both believed meant that the Trump Organization could make $300 million by lending Trump’s name to the tallest tower in Europe.

Quid pro quo, all executed on social media.

As I disclosed last July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

64 replies
    • Savage Librarian says:

      I’m sure Buzzfeed reads social media, too. They might even get ideas from EW commentators. Like I said in a comment about Schultz entering the fray, it’s time to “wake up and smell the Kafka-ee.”

  1. pseudonymous in nc says:

    Buzzfeed’s piece on Akhmetshin — potential FARA violations, and the fact he was being paid by Lanny Wiles instead of the other way around — feels of a piece with this. Though I can’t pin it down, other than thinking (again) that Fusion GPS was not as good at segregating its different projects as Glenn Simpson believed.

  2. Badger Robert says:

    Makes sense, because it was anticipated by a questionable source trying to distance Trump senior from the July 9 meeting. We did not hear from witnesses who talked with Trump junior at that time, and we never saw the alleged phone records. Nor would anyone publicly identify with this claim. Thanks for helping keep track of the Buzzfeed assertions.

  3. Badger Robert says:

    This explains the anticipatory leaks desperately trying to distance Trump, Sr. from the June 9 meeting. It is probable that Jr. spoke to at least one person directly interested in Tr. Tower M. So the other person was probably interested in the same deal. Thanks again.

  4. Trip says:

    The State of the Union address (which I will avoid like the plague) is gonna be lit with witch hunt language. This proves the sources for Buzzfeed have the goods, too (prior”directed” language, perhaps/SDNY).

    • BobCon says:

      The teleprompter stuff tends to be pablum. I think the goal will be to try to get a day or two of stories about Trump being presidential, offering olive branches, and trying to get the media to talk about how divisive and unyielding the Democrats are.

      The crazy will return in a day or so.

      • Trip says:

        If the speech is written by Stephen Miller, it will be some dark batshit apocalyptic end of the world scenario, death everywhere, every day, unless the Dems come together with him to build a wall. Then 500-600 “Best Ever” economy, work done by any president, etc. comments(fill in the blank) to fill up his ego.

        If Trump doesn’t soil himself during a speech, somehow it’s presidential.  The bar is not set very low,  it’s now buried about 10 feet under the ground. :D

        • Rayne says:

          Let’s not forget former Fox executive Bill Shine works as Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications. I’ll bet Shine ensures there’s a high gloss applied to Trump’s turd and whatever Miller wants will be highly constrained if included at all.

          There will be the inevitable Oh He’s Was So Presidential Tonight bullshit if Shine succeeds, followed by happy fappy tweeting tomorrow while ferret-headed freak enjoys his ‘creative’ executive time with Fox.

  5. bg says:

    Text SOTU to 50409. You will be notified when SOTU is over and Stacey begins. Resistbot. If anyone knows this is ill-advised, it is fine to remove this post.

  6. big fan says:

    Dear Marcy,

    I think it is time everyone stops worrying about whether Mueller is wrapping up or not. I think the real issue is when you are going to stop “drip, drip, dripping” us and finally present your unified theory of the case, what went down, what will be proved and who will wind up in jail/impeached. To encourage you, I have just made a small contribution to the site, please don’t consider it a bribe or even an attempted emolument. And try not to be so cryptic or convoluted when you do wrap this up for us. Thanks!

    • jayedcoins says:

      I don’t say this with malice, but you are assuming a lot, and missing a few things.

      First and foremost, the post you are replying to is a very succinct summary of a potential quid pro quo between the Trump orbit (the Organization, campaign, and family) and foreigners seeking to influence US policy. And it is a summary of that potential quid pro quo backed up with what is now publicly available evidence.

      Second — and I realize I’m wading into tough territory here, so I welcome people keeping me honest — I don’t believe MW has ever said she wants to be some prognosticator on this matter. She’s usually pretty forthright when she’s throwing up a post that is to think out loud, and when she’s writing something up that is sourced to public records that support the dots being connected. I read these posts and someone analyzing the public record and connecting dots when they deserve connecting, not someone trying to get out ahead and make some bold predictions for notoriety.

      Third, there’s so much evidence of corruption (and often criminality) around the Trump Organization, through the campaign, through the presidency, that a “unified theory” of all of it might be a bit “tin foil hat.” Some of these numerous scandals are just what happens when a bunch of entitled, selfish people that have been allowed to live with impunity their entire lives continue to amass power. So back to my first point on the “case in chief” — the “unified theory” need not be all that complicated, and doesn’t necessarily need to sweep up every single thread that’s fallen off of the SCO investigation.

    • Jenny says:

      LOL.  “… please don’t consider it a bribe or even an attempted emolument.”  Good one. Plus good reminder to send in a contribution.

      I remember the Nixon Watergate investigation. Riveting were the Senate hearings.  Patience is challenging, especially in an instantaneous feedback society.

  7. Savage Librarian says:

    Marcy & EW,
    I have been waiting over 21 years for the bit of karma relating to the Wiles’. It is very personal for me since it involved me losing a vital organ, tens of thousands in cash, and a great deal more.

    So, that little bit of the puzzle is something I felt fairly confident about. I really wanted you to be able to uncover that aspect. Thus, I put on my Elizabeth Warren t-shirt and persisted in sharing the info I knew.

    I’m disappointed that Buzzfeed beat you to the punch. And I’m disappointed that I could not find a way for you to hear and listen to me better. Consequently, I could not contain my angst and had to expel it. I’m thinking and hoping you understand.

    Certain efforts on the part of EW in the past few days have not gone unnoticed by me. I appreciate them. I think it has been a learning experience all the way around.

    I wish you all well now and in the future. Don’t forget to deposit the check. Long live EW.

    • Avattoir says:

      Your “disappointment [that] Buzzfeed beat you to the punch” is misplaced:

      What Buzzfeed primarily does is report off informants, including folks who leak info, whether for altruistic reasons or with some political agenda in mind and regardless of accuracy and honesty. Certainly the 2 reporters on that on story have been working their leads for some time and have formed some impression on how things fit (according to their POV, at least), but in the end they produce leaves through which emptywheel rakes and reworks in pursuit of far more likely sustainable scenarios. They work off shoe leather, while she sleuths off patterns identified in her memory palace. What emptywheel does is a critically (word choice intended) different sort of ‘reporting’ than what all they’re doing.

      FWIW, IMO the 2 Buzzfeed reporters got worked here, at least some. To many avid political and natsec news readers, realizing that can cause a breach of faith. Not to emptywheel, tho: to her, it’s a clue, a tiny pearl embedded in crap & mucus, the sort of thing she’s great at searching out and uncovering.

      • Savage Librarian says:

        Thanks, Avattoir,

        I appreciate the distinctions and the time and effort you took to clarify. I’m still looking forward to how these particular bits shake out. Good to know Marcy excels at her work. I’m an INTP on the Myers Briggs Scale. So, patterns are a thing for me, too.

      • dwfreeman says:

        However, you want to parse the differences, investigative reporting is based on both document support of knowable information through primary and secondary sourcing. Shoe-leather reporting and public sourcing  is still regarded in most respected journalist circles the primary method of reporting any story, sensitive and classified, or otherwise. Sourcing by archival or secondary analysis offers interpretation of primary documents, but the methodology is still secondary to speaking with the primary source of that documentation.

        No matter what he wrote about Gerald Ford pardoning Nixon, even when he suspected a deal was cut, it wasn’t until Bob Woodward asked Ford directly in private why he did it many years later, that he got an answer he could never have predicted based on the available record and any secondary analysis of it.

        A Trump soundbite beats one of his tweets for on-the-record reporting any day of the week. But you want and need both if you’re trying to determine whether the Trump Tower Moscow project he coveted was just a Russian election interference operation or a political ruse for a more sinisterly-devised plot with more complicated ends,  seeking to hide a quid pro quo-international money-laundering operation inside it which the Trump Organization has been manifestly linked to for the past decade or more in its various real estate holdings and Russian oligarch and bank-financed property development in New York and Florida with ongoing shell company ownership and turnover.

        There is a reason Buzzfeed followed the money in the Steele dossier and published it when nobody else would. That’s because the TT Moscow project is the lynchpin in the timeline and history of the Trump-Russia influence peddling connection, one that started in 1987 and then flowered in 1996 and has since grown into a complicated tangle of worldwide political and intelligence intrigue.

  8. Savage Librarian says:

    P.S. I still think Susie Wiles could be the Bannon associate in the Stone indictment. The person who said, “Well done.”

  9. P J Evans says:

    @SL: who the actual fuck are the Wileses, and why are you so insistent that ew spend her valuable time looking at them?

    • Geoff says:

      The wife was the Florida Trump campaign manager, which just happens to be the state where some rep got some of the sketchy stolen info (sorry, i forget the details.) Plus her daughter had a job in the WH before failing her background check. They sound slimy as f*&^.

      • Diviz says:

        That US candidate in Florida who received stolen documents from Guccifer 2.0 entered (I think?) the timeline with the July 13, 2018 indictment. Below are two of Marcy’s posts with cumulative timelines and comparisons of indictments. Did EW identify the candidate? I’m searching posts for it, but I haven’t come up with it yet.

        The indictment describes how a candidate for Congress asked for information. I think I know who this is, but need to check.


        August 15, 2016: Conspirators receive request for stolen documents from candidate for US congress


        • Cathy says:

          Although I think @Eureka is right about the candidate remaining yet nameless, per your July 13, 2018,  citation

          Requested Stolen Information

          The indictment describes how a candidate for Congress asked for information. I think I know who this is, but need to check.

          It describes Guccifer 2.0 providing documents to Aaron Nevins, which I have covered repeatedly.

          The info disseminated by Nevins leads to a candidate (follow Marcy’s link for a fun reminder from August 2017).

  10. Eureka says:

    This explains why (in the to-be Carr-chastened piece) BF wrote their opener (with ‘make it happen’) such that it sounded like the Putin meeting was for Cohen.  I had initially interpreted it that way (and as big news) then went back to it later, and- seeing no evidence like this-  wondered if instead they meant the originally planned Trump-Putin meeting, which then seemed more plausible.  Anyway, if “Make it happen” came from Trump himself after the Trump Tower meeting, that too is interesting (though it’s still not decidedly clear to which aspect/timeframe of said-meeting planning this phrase applied).

    So BF then grammatically ~ leaked out some other stuff they knew.  Which returns me to today’s piece, where they quote in the main text:

    At the same time, they plotted to persuade Putin to openly declare his support for Trump’s candidacy. “If he says it we own this election,” Sater wrote to Cohen.

    (emphasis added)

    I have not yet found where in the 284pp of documents this phrase is located- or more importantly, the context and date.  I think there’s some problem with my doc reader and search tools.  Anyway, if someone happens upon this, please comment.

  11. pizza says:

    Page 202 from 11/3/15

    I tried to paste an image copy but it blocked me for security.  Anyway, it’s on 202. Your analysis of it would be better than mine so have at it.

    • Eureka says:

      Thanks for the page number- I gave a superficial reading below.  Please do have at it yourself if you wish; crowd-sourcing the recovery of our democracy is a team sport!

  12. pizza says:

    BTW folks, please don’t associate my handle with “pizza-gate”. It has nothing to do with that or any other ridiculous alt-right conspiracy/fiction/craziness/b.s. Pizza is sort of an inside joke in my family. Long story but it’s pretty funny IMO (dad humor).
    I just wanted to be clear on that.

  13. Eureka says:

    @ pizza 655pm- Thanks much pizza- there was def. a problem with my viewer and pp numbers not according with what BF said onscreen. Changed to adobe and went to the real p. 202 and voila.

    BF notes Trump signed the LOI same date as the third GOP primary debate (Oct 28th, 2015) (then additional events…).
    What I would like to see now is the fourth (Nov 10th) debate where Trump and Bush spar on foreign policy,etc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Republican_Party_presidential_debates_and_forums#November_10,_2015_%E2%80%93_Milwaukee,_Wisconsin

    Because of Sater’s history and my suspicions about same, his effusive cheerleading for a Putin endorsement while pushing the deal could be just pushing the deal and its entailments (which are many, including Sater profits and Kremlin receipts), but of course I think it may reflect on the general swill in the air of RU backing the GOP for some years/the general anti-HRC plot for Cohen to buy in that such would move Trump to the head of the line (i.e. for Sater to see than line of pestering as plausible). (I lost a third thought, maybe it’ll return someday.)

    But LOL the real answer is here in BF- and I’m sure this caught the eye of many. Coffee boy, I-don’t-know-him Sater:
    December 2, 2015
    When asked about Sater’s history with organized crime and stock fraud, Trump responds, “Felix Sater, boy, I have to even think about it.” He adds, “I’m not that familiar with him.” A Trump Organization lawyer, Alan Garten, says their business relationship started in 2010 and lasted only six months. Garten declined a request from BuzzFeed News for comment.

    • pizza says:

      Yes, all that owning this election talk was just cheerleading as you nicely put it.  Just jazzing things up some more.  All part of the big sell.  I’m probably late to the game here on EW about this, but it seems Sater was setting DT and Co. up the whole way.  Major sell job but never intended for anything to actually go through.  It explains his over selling at times and the slow walking that pissed Cohen off so much he contacted Putin’s office directly.  I’m probably wrong but I just get that sense reading some of the emails/texts and the timeline.  But I’m no amazing reporter and IANAL.  I’m just a dude trying to keep up with history as it unfolds before us.

  14. Cathy says:

    Building on

    February 5, 2019 at 5:40 pm
    “…to emptywheel, tho: to her, it’s a clue, a tiny pearl embedded in crap & mucus, the sort of thing she’s great at searching out and uncovering.”

    Observation: I recall this being characterized as backoffice activity in a previous iteration of news publishing; nostalgic as I am for said era of big newsrooms I am thankful blogging allows this window into the analysis.

    Reminder for us newbies: The Like Button can be found in the menu at the top of the thread – it’s labeled SUPPORT

  15. Manqueman says:

    But Jr. didn’t call his daddy immediately after the 9 June meeting so clearly Sr.’s inn scent of everything and therefore so is the entire campaign, right? No collusion! Witch hunt!!

    • bmaz says:

      Those are perfectly legal and appropriate donations in the amount of $2,700 (except the one for $2,783 to a PAC). Earlier, you said $2 million; where is the support for that?

  16. P J Evans says:

    @Missy February 6, 2019 at 10:12 pm
    All nice, legal donations. It’s the dark money that’s the problem – this is aboveboard and properly reported.

  17. Anvil Leucippus says:

    You know what’s noticeably missing from the report from the DOJ on midterm election interference? Any statements that identify that Russia continues to mess with elections.

    All it says that any attempts were not “material”-ly successful. Oh well I guess everything is fine, then!


    Unless that IS a lie, and all these scandals breaking lately ARE the results of election interference and that’s why we are just hearing about them now.

    Right in time to make that case that if you now have two guys each arrested for lying to congress (Cohen being the lucky one, because he was the first), then maybe the other two chuckleheads — Donald Trump Jr, and the head of the paramilitary murder-for-hire company Blackwater — also lied to congress.

    So maybe we need to look into that…


  18. Missy says:

    Got it! I didn’t understand the legal .vs illegal. I was concerned about Dems taking any money but I guess it’s ok. Even Jason Kandor took their $. With regards to amount, I read wrong. There was no ill intent. This was all from article from Jonathan Swan but I posted the Open Secret link b/c want get source. His article made it seem nefarious, that’s why I posted concern originally.

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