A new set of emails has become public that shows the extent of the effort to secure a Trump Tower deal in Moscow during the election. The most notable emails are between two of Trump’s associates: Michael Cohen and Felix Sater. Sater’s boasting about Trump and Putin was previously known but now the emails have been disclosed. In one email, Sater (who seems to rival Cohen in competition for the most seedy Trump associations) brags about his close contacts with Putin and how he can get the Tower approved. He then adds “I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected.” He also that it would be “pretty cool to get a USA President elected” and, if successful, wanted to be the ambassador to the Bahamas: “That my friend is the home run I want out of this.” With the Mueller report now reportedly coming within the month, the emails could be used to show a strong business interest in Moscow — an interest that continued during the campaign.
Sater assured Cohen that he had the access to Putin and that he could seal the deal. Sater is one of many Trump associates who comes across as breathtakingly sleazy. What is also striking is how clueless both men appear. Sater is convinced that getting the effective endorsement of Putin or some favorable review of Trump’s business skills would guarantee his election. It is hard to imagine that anyone would be so dim to believe that favorable statements from Putin would be a major, if not decisive, advantage for an American candidate for president. He also excitedly says that he arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putin’s chair in Moscow.
Sater could prove important in his connections with the scandal-plagued VTB Bank, a Russian bank under American sanctions for sinister deals and funding (particularly in relation to the Ukraine). Sater also discussed how he would show Putin’s people videotapes of Trump praising Putin. That could be used to show that Trump’s controversial campaign praise for Putin was being used directly to try to secure the deal in Moscow. In combination with Trump’s insistence that he had no dealings with Russia, it could help support a damaging narrative. Yet, this would only show dishonesty at best on the business interests of Trump in Moscow not collusion in the hacking of email systems.
Moreover, Cohen told Congress that he viewed Sater’s statements as puffery. Indeed, Sater seems as out of touch with reality as he does ill-informed about politics. Yet, there remains the ongoing problem of Trump hiring or associating with incredibly corrupt and sleazy people like Cohen, Sater, and Paul Manafort. Sater is not only a former FBI informant but someone who infamously smashed a martini glass in the face of another man.
Sater’s emails fulfill a narrative that connects Trump’s positive Putin comments to his business interests in Moscow. Again, that is not good politically but it is not incriminating on the hacking operation (which is not referenced in the emails).