Mar 21, 2019

Felix Sater to face House hearing on Trump Tower Moscow project

Donald Trump, Tevfik Arif and Felix Sater attend the Trump Soho Launch Party on Sept. 19, 2007, in New York. Photo: Mark Von Holden/WireImage

Russian-born real estate developer Felix Sater will publicly testify before the House Intelligence Committee on March 27 after previously delaying his appearance due to scheduling issues.

Why it matters: Sater is expected to discuss his work with Michael Cohen on building a Trump Tower in Moscow — a project that helped land Cohen a 3-year prison sentence after he lied to Congress about how long negotiations extended into the 2016 presidential campaign.

The backdrop: Sater, a convicted felon who pleaded guilty in 1998 for his involvement in a Mafia-linked fraud scheme, promised Cohen in 2015 that the Moscow project would be completed with the aid of Russian President Vladimir Putin and that the deal would help Trump win the 2016 election.

  • In a 2013 sworn deposition, Trump testified that he barely knew Sater and that he wouldn't recognize him if he was sitting in the same room. But Sater has previously testified that he knows Trump personally and that he visited his office throughout the 2000s to discuss possible business deals.
"Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process."
— Sater, in an email to Cohen

The big picture: Sater's public hearing next week comes exactly one month after Cohen's explosive testimony to the House Oversight Committee. House Intel also plans to hold a public hearing on March 28, titled "Putin's Playbook: The Kremlin's Use of Oligarchs, Money and Intelligence in 2016 and Beyond."

Go deeper: Timeline: Here's what we know about Trump Tower Moscow

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

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Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."

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Warren Buffett. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

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