In the wake of Michael Cohen's plea, CNN is tying up some of the other players in the drama known as Donald Trump's Love Affair With Russia; specifically, the identity of "Individual 2." From the context, it's clear that Individual 2 is Felix Sater.
Reporter Kara Scannell explains that one of the key players in TrumpWorld was Felix Sater, who has been cooperating with Robert Mueller from the get-go. It is established fact that Sater has a long history with the Trump Organization, helping them build in Florida and also the Trump Tower Soho building in New York.
As Kara Scannell reports, Sater is a key player and the connector between the ongoing efforts to build Trump Tower in Moscow and Russian efforts to get Trump elected president. In 2015, Sater wrote an email to Michael Cohen, in which he bragged that they could get Trump elected and Sater would get Putin on board with it.
That was in 2015. Now we have Cohen admitting that Trump was still trying to get a deal for Trump Tower Moscow built as late as June, 2016, after Trump won the nomination. Put that together with the platform change at the GOP convention advantaging Russia over Ukraine and Trump shouting out to Russia for Hillary's missing emails in July 2016 and the picture starts to come in focus.
Distilling it down, Trump was trying to do a deal in Moscow after he won the Republican nomination in 2016, while the Russians were busy hacking John Podesta's emails and turning them over to Wikileaks for strategic publication.
SCANNELL: What we're learning now from this is that Michael Cohen's communications with Sater continued well past January like what Cohen told the Congress and he was negotiating with Sater about traveling to Moscow, he was talking with him in the lobby of the Trump Tower Hotel according to the information in May of 2016 and June of 2016 to try to get this trip off the ground that is right before the convention, and they're discussing conversations that they're having with the Russian government -- at least in January.↓ Story continues below ↓
Sater has been cooperating with the Special Counsel's investigation. He has said that he's turned over every text and email and he's a longtime government cooperator. He was charged in the late 1990s in a stock manipulation scheme and has been a government cooperator for decades since then, Poppy.
POPPY HARLOW: All right. So, Felix Sater not a household name but significant given his cooperation here and the naming of "individual two" in this information. "The New York Times" as you'll remember not long ago reported that a series of emails from Felix Sater to Michael Cohen and let me quote from one of those emails, okay. Quote,
Our boy can become President of the United States, and we can engineer it.
He went on to write:
I will get all of Putin's team to buy in on this. I will manage this process.
And "The Washington Post" has reported in a statement to the House Intelligence Committee, Cohen did admit to writing to Dimitri Peskov in connection with Felix Sater's work.
That's right, Poppy. What we learned from the information today is that Cohen's conversations with Peskov's office continued. He had told Congress that he never heard back. What we're learning from the information is he had at least one 20 minute conversation with one of Peskov's assistants and he had told her that he wanted help to move this project forward. He wanted to talk to her about financing the project, and this is the Russian government, and this is occurring during the campaign while Trump is publicly saying he has no ties, but Michael Cohen is working with Felix Sater, and there's even another email exchange where Sater is trying to get Cohen on the phone, and he says to him, its about, you know, the President of Russia and that's why he needs to talk to him. So there's an ongoing discussion between Cohen and Sater. Sater is of Russian descent. He is trying to maneuver either Cohen traveling to Moscow or even the candidate after the convention, so this is a very integral part of how they're trying to continue this project while the campaign's going on.
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