“This was a project that the president was pursuing during the presidential campaign” that “may have been the most lucrative deal of his life,” Schiff said Wednesday of Trump’s efforts to develop a project in Russia, which never advanced beyond the early stages.
During an appearance at the National Press Club, Schiff said the Trump Organization was effectively seeking Russian President Vladimir Putin’s support for a Moscow tower in 2016 “while the candidate, Donald Trump, was out on the campaign trail extolling the merits of Vladimir Putin.”
A spokesman for Schiff did not comment on Sater’s planned testimony but said the committee is continuing its investigation into the Moscow project and “will be proceeding with multiple staff-level interviews as part of that investigation during the coming weeks.”
Sater, a U.S. citizen, was originally set to testify before the panel in March, but his appearance was postponed. He worked on two efforts to develop a Trump tower in Moscow, and he escorted Trump’s children Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. during a 2006 visit to the Russian capital.
Most recently, Sater worked closely with Trump’s then-personal attorney Michael Cohen on a proposed Moscow development that began in the fall of 2015.
At the time, Cohen and Sater discussed using the project to help not only Trump’s bottom line, but also his electoral efforts.
“Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Sater wrote to Cohen in a 2015 email. “I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”
Last year, Cohen admitted he lied to Congress about the project. He said he falsely claimed that efforts to build a Trump-branded tower in Moscow ended in January 2016, when in fact discussions continued through June of that year — as Trump was securing the GOP presidential nomination.
Cohen is serving a three-year jail sentence after also pleading guilty to tax and campaign finance crimes.
Along with Sater, the House Intelligence Committee is seeking the testimony of another businessman who was part of discussions about a Trump tower in Russia: Giorgi Rtskhiladze, a native of Georgia who is now a U.S. citizen and briefly expressed interest in a Trump Moscow development during a 2015 email exchange with Cohen.
In an interview, Rtskhiladze said the details of his testimony were still being negotiated between his lawyer and committee staff.