Josh Marshall points out the Sater-day Night Massacre over the weekend in the Trump regime/Russia story (emphasis mine:)
I don't know how much attention it's received. But the appearance of the name of Felix Sater in this new article in the Times is one of the biggest shoes I've seen drop on the Trump story in some time.
The new story explains that a group of Trump operatives, including top lawyer Michael Cohen and fired former campaign manager Paul Manafort, along with a pro-Putin Ukrainian parliamentarian named Andrii V. Artemenko and Mr. Sater are pushing President Trump on a 'peace plan' for Russia and Ukraine.
Cohen recently met with Sater and Artemenko; and Cohen agreed to personally deliver the peace plan (actually a sealed envelope with documents detailing it) to the President when he met with him at the White House. Cohen says he left it with General Flynn days before Flynn was forced to resign.
The backstory to all this is amazingly byzantine and murky. Let me try to cover the key points as simply as I can.
Having spent some time studying the matter, the biggest red flags about Donald Trump's ties to Russia and businessmen around Vladimir Putin have always been tied to the Trump SoHo building project in Lower Manhattan, from the first decade of this century. I base my knowledge of this on this rather cursory but still quite good April 2016 article from the Times and my own limited snooping around the Outer Boroughs Russian and Ukrainian emigre press. (I summarized the most salient details of the earlier Times article in Item #3 of this post.) This was a key project, perhaps the key project in the post-bankruptcy era in which Trump appeared heavily reliant on Russian funds to finance his projects. Sater was at the center of that project. The details only came to light after the project got bogged down in a complicated series of lawsuits.
After the lawyers got involved, Trump said he barely knew who Sater was. But there is voluminous evidence that Sater, a Russian emigrant, was key to channeling Russian capital to Trump for years. Sater is also a multiple felon and at least a one-time FBI informant. Bayrock Capital, where he worked was located in Trump Tower and he himself worked as a special advisor to Trump. Again, read the Times article to get a flavor of his ties to Trump, the Trump SoHo project and Russia. For my money there's no better place to start to understand the Trump/Russia issue.
On its own, Trump's relationship with Sater might be written off (albeit not terribly plausibly) as simply a sleazy relationship Trump entered into to get access to capital he needed to finance his projects. Whatever shadowy ties Sater might have and whatever his criminal background, Trump has long since washed his hands of him. (Again, we're talking about most generous reads here.)
But now we learn that Sater is still very much in the Trump orbit and acting as a go-between linking Trump and a pro-Putin Ukrainian parliamentarian pitching 'peace plans' for settling the dispute between Russia and Ukraine. (Artemenko is part of the political faction which Manafort helped build up in the aftermath of the ouster of his Ukrainian benefactor, deposed President Viktor Yanukovych.) Indeed, far, far more important, Cohen - who is very close to Trump and known for dealing with delicate matters - is in contact with Sater and hand delivering political and policy plans from him to the President.
Were Cohen not involved, one might speculate that Sater is just up to yet another hustle, looking to parlay his one-time association with Trump into influence with the new President. Cohen hand delivering his messages to the President changes the picture considerably. How or why Cohen would do this, if for no other reason than the current massive scrutiny of Trump's ties to Russia and Sater's scandals, almost defies belief. But here we are.
So yet another player in the Trump regime, definitely sleazy, definitely a felon, definitely still working for The Donald, definitely still making deals with foreign nationals. Doug J at Balloon Juice says it's all just too much for our broken media to handle.
I hate to keep beating this horse, but I’m wondering if maybe the Trump-Russia story is one of those things that establishment media just isn’t set up to cover. I don’t mean that they can’t cover individual pieces of the story but that they aren’t able to put it all together. I had the same feeling when Josh Marshall was breaking the Bush US Attorney story, which was also ignored by establishment media. I guess some stories have too many moving parts and say things that are too negative about powerful people for establishment media to handle.
We have an “All The President’s Men” press corps but we’re living in a “Chinatown” world.
Like people keep saying, your FOX-watching racist uncle knows nothing about Carter Page, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, Felix Sater, or Steve Bannon. He knows that Hillary Clinton is a bitch though, and he knows the reason why he lost his job at the plant ten years ago is the fault of those goddamn liberals, because that's what he's been told daily for ten years. He doesn't give a damn about what Trump does as long as he brings the jobs back and gets rid of Muslims and Mexicans and Black Lives Matter.
The rest, well who cares, right?