The Washington Post reports that the House Intelligence Committee will issue a subpoena to compel Felix Sater, a former business partner of President Trump, to testify after he did not appear today for a scheduled closed-door interview with committee staff. Adam Schiff, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters that the subpoena would be issued “imminently”, according to Politico.
Sater’s attorney, Robert Wolf, says his client failed to appear due to health reasons and that Sater is planning to voluntarily attend the “next rescheduled date”, per CNN. He added that the subpoena is “entirely unnecessary”. Sater told Politico, “No, of course not,” when asked if anyone threatened him or told him not to show up.
Politico reports that spokesman for committee Chairman Adam Schiff, Patrick Boland, said, “The committee had scheduled a voluntary staff-level interview with Mr. Sater, but he did not show up this morning as agreed. As a result, the committee is issuing a subpoena to compel his testimony.”
Felix Sater, a Russian real estate developer, escorted Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr in Moscow on a visit in 2006 and repeatedly attempted to have Donald Trump and Michael Cohen visit Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to USA Today.
In addition to his colorful background, which includes having been jailed for 15 months for stabbing a man in the face with a broken glass and cooperating with the government against the mafia in 1998, Sater was the chief negotiator of the failed Trump Tower Moscow Project. President Trump did not disclose the project during his candidacy for president and maintains he does not know Sater, despite Sater having an office on the same floor as Trump in Trump Tower. In his written answers to questions from Mueller, Trump said, “I do not recall being aware at the time of any communications between Mr. Cohen or Felix Sater and any Russian government official regarding the letter-of-intent.”
Michael Cohen, the president’s former lawyer and “fixer”, is currently serving a three-year prison term, in part, on charges of lying to the Intelligence Committee about the Moscow Project. Cohen describes Sater as an important figure in the negotiations for the project which, Sater believed, could help Trump become president.
Per CNN, the day after Trump signed the letter-of-intent to build Trump Tower Moscow, Sater wrote in an email to Cohen, “Buddy boy our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. You and I will get Donald and Vladimir on a stage together very shortly. That the game changer.” He emailed Cohen later that day, “We can own this election.”
Democrats maintain that Sater’s testimony is vital to gaining a full understanding of the Trump Tower Moscow project, which is a focus of the committee’s investigation into whether President Trump is compromised by foreign involvement. According to Schiff, Sater is one of several witnesses lined up by the committee who will be testifying on matters relating to Trump Tower Moscow, CNN reports.
USA Today reports that Schiff told reporters on Wednesday, “We would like to present a fuller account of Trump Tower Moscow because that remains such a potentially compromising circumstance, if the president continues to want to make that deal, that our policy continues to be held hostage by the profit-making incentive there.” He pointed out that the Moscow Project, though ostensibly abandoned, could be a conflict of interest if Trump were to pursue it after leaving office because Putin would have to cooperate.