Your front page report on the lies admitted by President Trump’s former personal attorney (“Cohen admits lying over Trump’s Russia project,” Guardian, 30 Nov. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/nov/29/michael-cohen-plead-guilty-congress-lying-mueller-investigation) makes mention in passing to Felix Sater, described as “a Russian business associate of Trump…[who] claimed to have connections with influential figures in Moscow.”
It is documented that these are not claims, but fact. But as with his disowning of his long time lawyer and friend, Michael Cohen, Trump was quick to dump his friendship with Sater when it became inconvenient and embarrassing.
If Mr Sater “were sitting in the room right now,” Mr. Trump said in a 2013 Court deposition, “I really wouldn’t know what he looked like.” (“Donald Trump Settled a Real Estate Lawsuit, and a Criminal Case Was Closed,” New York Times, 5 April 2016; (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/06/us/politics/donald-trump-soho-settlement.html
Eleven years ago, the NY Times - hated by Trump for its exposure of his more egregious, dubious business practices - revealed details of Sater’s nefarious and dodgy business deals and contacts.
“..At 27 he was in prison after a bloody bar fight, and at 32 he was accused of conspiring with the Mafia to launder money and defraud investors. Along the way he became embroiled in a plan to buy antiaircraft missiles on the black market for the Central Intelligence Agency in either Russia or Afghanistan, depending on which of his former associates is telling the story.”
(“Real Estate Executive With Hand in Trump Projects Rose From Tangled Past”; NY Times, 17 Dec. 2007; http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/17/nyregion/17trump.html)
The Miami Herald – local newspaper for Trump’s Mar O Largo resort hotel- five later reported:
“Sater hatched a bold plan to keep out of prison. Charged in a New York securities scandal, the 46-year-old businessman traveled to his native Russia where he took on a unique role that went far beyond flipping on dangerous criminals. He began spying for the CIA….In return, the CIA pledged to keep Sater from going to jail in the stock scam he concocted with New York organized crime figures.”
(Swindler, Stinger-missile brokers, the CIA: How a developer of Fort Lauderdale Trump Tower, a troubled project that cost investors millions, got the feds to erase his criminal past.”, 8 Sept. 2012; http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/09/08/2992317/strange-bedfellows-swindler-stinger.html).
No wonder, as the Russian connections unravel, Trump wants to disassociate himself from Sater.