Former Trump business adviser to testify before House panels

March 21, 2019 - 11:45 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Russian-born former business adviser to President Donald Trump will speak to two House committees next week as Democrats begin to gather information in multiple wide-ranging investigations of the president.

Felix Sater, an off-and-on adviser to Trump's business for several years, will testify publicly before the House intelligence committee on March 27 and then behind closed doors to the House Judiciary Committee on March 28. The intelligence panel announced the public hearing on Thursday, and Sater confirmed the closed-door interview.

Sater is of interest to investigators because he worked with Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, on an ultimately unsuccessful deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Sater and Cohen also discussed having Trump visit Russia during his presidential campaign.

The interviews come as special counsel Robert Mueller appears to be near the end of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and as several Democratic-led committees begin probes of Trump's political, personal and business dealings. Cohen spoke to the House intelligence and oversight committees last month, in addition to the Senate intelligence committee, and the the Judiciary and Oversight panels have sent out dozens of document requests related to all facets of Trump's life.

Sater, a former Mafia informant who was convicted in connection with a stock fraud scheme, was involved in the effort to try to jump-start the Trump Tower project in Moscow. Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the project. He told lawmakers the Moscow venture was abandoned by January 2016 when, in reality, work on it persisted deep into the presidential campaign.

Sater was also involved in trying to get the White House to look at a Ukrainian peace proposal that favored Russia.

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