- The Washington Times - Friday, June 21, 2019

Felix Sater, the middleman between Michael Cohen and Russian officials on the aborted Trump Tower Moscow project, refused to show up for his scheduled testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on Friday.

“The Committee had scheduled a voluntary staff-level interview with Mr. Sater, but he did not show up this morning as agreed. As a result, the Committee is issuing a subpoena to compel his testimony,” Chairman Adam Schiff said in a statement Friday morning.

The statement was issued about an hour after Mr. Sater failed to show up for his testimony. It is not clear why Mr. Sater did not show up.

Speaking with reporters shortly after the scuttled hearing, Mr. Schiff said the subpoena would be issued imminently.

“All I can tell you is he agreed to appear this morning. He did not show up,” Mr. Schiff said referring further questions to Mr. Sater’s attorney.

Mr. Sater’s attorney Robert Wolf said in a statement his client was a no show because of “unexpected health reasons,” calling a subpoena “entirely unnecessary.”

“Mr. Sater voluntarily testified before the House Intelligence Committee in December 2017 and agreed to their more recent requests to voluntarily appear on numerous other dates, including Chairman Schiff’s request for public testimony on April 10, 2019, all of which were postponed by the committee,” Mr. Wolf said.

In an email to The Washington Times Thursday, Mr. Sater confirmed he would be attending the hearing and said he planned to make a statement afterwards.

Mr. Sater, a Russian-born real estate developer, appeared before the committee as Democrats ramp up their investigations into President Trump’s business dealings. He is one of several witnesses Mr. Schiff has sought to talk about Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia.

Special counsel Robert Mueller concluded the Trump campaign did not conspire with Russia to influence the 2016 campaigns. But he did identify scores of contacts between the campaign and Russia and Mr. Schiff wants to focus the committee’s attention on the matter.

Mr. Sater and the Trump Tower project are cited prominently in the Mueller report. He was also featured in Cohen’s testimony before the same committee earlier this year.

The appearance Friday was Mr. Sater’s second time testifying before the House Intelligence Committee. He appeared before the panel with Cohen in 2017 to talk about the scuttled Trump Tower Moscow project.

Mr. Trump had signed a letter of intent to pursue the deal, but ultimately it did not go forward. In emails to Cohen, Mr. Sater suggested the project could bolster Mr. Trump’s election chances.

“Our boy can become President of the USA and we can engineer it,” he wrote in an email to Cohen.

And it was Mr. Sater’s idea to offer Russian President Vladimir Putin a penthouse in the undeveloped tower, saying rich Russians would pay a higher price to live in the same building.

Mr. Sater was scheduled to testify publicly before the committee in March. The hearing was postponed once because of a scheduling conflict and then a second time because lawmakers wanted more time to review the Mueller report.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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