Trump’s Personal Attorney Delivers “Peace for No Sanctions” Proposal

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What the f-ck are you doing? You’re hanging around my f-ckin’ neck like a vulture, like impending danger.

-Goodfellas

Hours ago, the New York Times dropped a bombshell.

“A week before Michael T. Flynn resigned as national security adviser, a sealed proposal was hand-delivered to his office, outlining a way for President Trump to lift sanctions against Russia.”

The timing, as the lede suggests, is important, but the proposal’s authors, a group of Trump operatives, are more interesting:

Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen hand-delivered the proposal. Former campaign manager Paul Manafort, pro-Putin, Ukrainian parliamentarian named Andrii V. Artemenko, and convicted Russian American mobster Felix Sater authored it. You’re going to hear a lot about these guys in the next few weeks, though Felix Sater is perhaps the most colorful of the four.

The son of an underboss to the “boss of all bosses” of the Russian mafia, Felix Sater has a past that would make his father proud:

  • In 1993, Felix served a year in prison for stabbing a New York commodities broker in the face with part of a margarita glass.
  • In 1998, Felix pled guilty to running a pump-and-dump stock* scheme for his employer White Rock Partners. He was able to buy himself out of jail time by providing useful information to the FBI and CIA.
  • More recently, Felix has been charged with tax evasion. He ran the Bayrock Group with another son of a mobster, doing high-end real estate deals, skimming money from the business, not paying taxes, and trying to cover it up. Interestingly, DONALD TRUMP, JR. and IVANKA TRUMP have been named as material witnesses in the case.

Trump’s denials to the contrary, Felix Sater seems to have grown into the Trump organization like a tumor. Sater and Bayrock’s involvement began with Trump Soho, 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.”

It was in these lawsuits that Trump denied knowing Sater. However, as Josh Marshall writes,

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.

In Russia, and apparently in Trump’s business dealings and presidential administration, it’s not easy to separate the businessmen from the criminals. And it’s not hard to believe that Trump and/or more people close to him are actively involved in a shady push to lift sanctions on Russia.  As John Schindler, a former intelltigence operative who (ironically) writes for Jared Kushner’s father’s paper, has written about Flynn’s now infamous contacts with Russia on sanctions:

it’s difficult to see how Flynn decided to parley with Moscow without a go-ahead of some kind from Donald Trump. We don’t know this to be the case and cannot allege or even speculate that this occurred. But while Flynn is unquestionably a loose cannon, as a career military man he understands the chain of command with perfect clarity. Moreover, accepting that the soon-to-be National Security Advisor opened up back-channels of communication with the Kremlin all by himself is as credible as the notion that the Plumbers decided to break into the Watergate without orders from higher up.

The plot thickens. The motives on the Russian side are clear. We still don’t know why Trump favors Vladimir Putin or lifting sanctions. He’s been trying to do business in Russia since 1986. He likes authoritarians. He likes money. He has poor impulse control.

*  A pump-and-dump stock scheme starts with purchasing a bunch of inexpensive stock on the sly, and then selling stocks quickly and fraudulently to drive up the stock price. When the price gets high enough, the criminals sell their stock at the inflated price. The stock eventually crashes and stock buyers lose their money). 

 

 

 

 



Discuss

16 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Appalling

    Not just that these traitors would do this, but that our Vichi Collaborators GOP legislators (house and senate) demonstrate ZERO interest in doing anything at all about it.

    • Worse than that Tom

      The Graham-McCain-Rubio troika is hoping to work with Senate Dems to strip Trump’s authority over Russian sanctions. That indicates they are responsible enough to concede he can’t be trusted with this element of foreign policy, but still so fecklessly partisan to remove him from office so he no longer has control over-say nuclear weapons. I’ve been warning about the Russian connection for months. Mattis and Kelly will stick around so the cabinet has enough voted for he 25th amendment option-if they resign that’s a sign things are even worse than they appear.

    • PUTIN'S PUPPET IS CRAZIER THAN A RAT IN A SEPTIC TANK

      and it’s only a matter of time before the adults Pence / Mattis et al reduce him to a Constitutional Monarch.

      Fred Rich LaRiccia

      • I don't want him as constitutional monarch either.

        He would still be the face of the country. If we’re going to go that route I’d prefer to join many of our fellow former British colonies and put the Queen in that role:)

        • I'll take a Queen if we gain a parliamentary system too

          Preferably a mixed member parliamentary model like New Zealand’s. The Madisonian republican model is fundamentally broken and vulnerable to authoritarianism.

          • I don't think the Madisonian model is broken at all.

            It does require all branches to do their jobs. Westminster systems are checked mostly by tradition, but ultimately whatever the PM wants the PM gets (unless the sovereign would dare to actually veto something, and upper houses in those systems are mostly not equal). Hitler and Mussolini got their way because they were the only center of power.

            • Correct

              Which means Obama and Clinton would’ve been able to govern and the MMP
              Portion means the Republicans would not be a majority party since their seats would reflect the popular vote. Even in 2014 with abysmal turnout, the Democrats led the popular vote for the Congressional ballot. The system is broken since it overweighs Republican votes and voters and undervalues Democratic ones. It overweighs rural areas at the expense of urban ones.

              So the Wyoming Rule or changing terms to eliminate midterms are ways within the Madisonian model we can make it more democratic, but ultimately voting for party lists and then proportionally allocating the seats makes the most sense. We have a de facto parliamentarian system already on top of our Madisonian model since our parties have become ideologically polarized.

              It’s unlikely the liberal Republicans in the northeast or conservative Democrats in the south will make a comeback, so we might as well admit that we have strong parties within a weak party system which has broken the model.

              • Yeah, but...

                …I also strongly prefer representation that is still geographic rather than partisan officially.

                • MMP is both

                  You would elect one candidate for your riding and others from the party list. Germany, New Zealand, and other advanced democracies have this. It makes coalitions more stable, more likely, and more multipartisan. Illinois apportioned some House seats at large as recently as 1947.

  2. How did this get out?

    Did one of these guys leak it?

  3. I assume there was a leak.

    But the information on Felix Sater is all over the internet and in all types of publications.

    Trump Soho was financed in some (large) part by the Russian mob which also used the opportunity to launder money.

    I expect the mainstream media will be on this, but even the Times hasn’t delved into this. Josh Marshall has done something thinking on it.

  4. Jim, technical question...

    I based my post on a New York Time article and cited things from well-known publications, but the media in general has yet to pick up on it. Any idea why?

    This isn’t intended as media criticism. The media has already had a lot of info about Trump and Felix Sater, but no news source has coherently written on the Russia-Trump connection information they have. In fact,

    I’ve sort of scooped the media on this. I don’t understand why. If I can figure out and develop a story from internet sources, they should be able to do so. They have access to Lexis-Nexis and actual human sources.

    This is the issue that will probably bring Trump down, yet it’s being largely ignored.

    • Not sure but I'll guess

      It’s a bit complicated for TV. It came out too late for the Sunday shows.

      And there’s an element of “Wait, what?” In other words, a peace plan is a good thing. But this one is from bad guys, so … what to think?

      I guarantee some followup on it, but it might take a bit.

    • The BBC picked up on it

      At least on the radio, though the conspicuously times news of the Gen. McMaster accepting the role National Security Advisor seemed to bump it off…

  5. More outlets are picking the story up.

    Cohen, Trump’s lawyer, is now saying <a href="” target=”_blank”>he met with the proposal writers, but never delivered anything. This is the same guy who said he’d never been to Prague and flashed the cover of his passport.

    Vanity Fair picked the story up.
    http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/02/donald-trump-associates-russia-ukraine

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