Felix Sater made something of a splash with a counterclaim filing in court on 3 February, enumerating a list of allegations against a group of Kazakh clients and the consulting company Arcanum which had sued him in 2019.
A number of commentators were astonished at Sater’s claims about the intent and activities of the original plaintiffs. I have to say, though, that his filing didn’t surprise me nearly as much. The reason is basically that, after looking over the information we already have about the events of 2015, it had begun to appear that there well could have been outside hands in the key threads involving Sater that year. Those key threads were his asset recovery work for the Kazakh clients (who sought billions in funds allegedly embezzled by Mukhtar Ablyazov nearly 10 years earlier) and his shepherding of an incipient deal for a Trump Tower in Moscow.
I wrote about the juxtaposition of those coincidental arrangements in this 25 January 2022 article. What principally struck me was that both sets of arrangements have been used in later years to impugn Sater by implication, and Trump by extension.
On the face of it, the arrangements were unrelated. As far as we can tell, the Trump Tower negotiations had little if anything to do with string-pulling third parties.
The work for the Kazakhs, meanwhile, had nothing to do with Trump or any Trump interests. Significantly, however, it was connected in a host of ways to much of the cast of Spygate, starting with the Clintons and the Kazakh uranium deals worked by their crony Frank Giustra. See the link above for a short-list of linked parties. That list is only half-vast, but there are connections to the other half (as we know it today). The Kazakh connections of Hunter and Joe Biden, unearthed in 2020, have served to heighten interest in the Kazakh investigative angle.
In the years since 2015, Sater’s role in the Trump Tower negotiations has been exploited to the hilt for both imputed “investigative” purposes, and the media project to tar Trump with innuendo.
As for Sater’s work for the Kazakh parties, in 2019 the parties sued him in the United States over alleged issues relating to performance and fiduciary good faith. At that point Sater had worked on asset recovery for them for some three years (2015 through 2018). It was notable that the Kazakhs didn’t bring suit during the period of work. The timing of the 2019 suit is quite interesting and doesn’t seem merely coincidental; again, see the 25 January article. (For one additional point, see below as well.)
I didn’t feel it useful in January to speculate about how much Sater himself knows (and I still don’t). Obviously, having filed his counterclaim, he isn’t going to speak publicly any time soon about what he does or doesn’t know.
But the incendiary nature of the counterclaim immediately looked to me like a shot across someone’s bow. I’m not so sure it’s the Kazakhs, although it may be the somewhat shadowy firm Arcanum.
Sater’s counterclaim seemed to be a shaking of the tree, to see what falls out. Its thesis is that someone, probably connected at the least to Vladimir Putin, wanted to use the Kazakh asset-recovery job to spy on Sater and whatever he found out, with a near-term view of getting Hillary Clinton elected, and a longer view to gathering dirt that could be used against Donald Trump.
I would imagine any spying on Sater and the Kazakhs was also to gather information on where the Ablyazov funds went, what the intricate connections were, and – given the myriad links to the Spygate cast – how they fit into it all.
One of the chief things to know about the latter dataset – the Spygate actors – would be what kind of information Sater uncovered that he might pass on to Trump. If I were a Spygate character, and clued in about Sater’s work for the Kazakhs, that’s the main thing I would want to discover.
And without speculating as to who would be most strongly motivated to learn what Sater knew, there needn’t be much doubt about who from Spygate was in the best position to know he was working with Arcanum and the Kazakhs. That would be his contacts in the U.S. federal agencies, starting with the FBI. As a U.S. citizen who had reportedly done work for agencies like CIA and DIA, Sater would have been vetted regularly by the Bureau.
To repeat a point made in my earlier article, regardless of what Sater did or didn’t tell the FBI up front about signing on with Arcanum to do asset recovery for the Kazakhs, the FBI was going to know about it quickly anyway.
Moreover, we should not dismiss the possibility that the FBI, as we’ve seen it gradually exposed before us over the last five years, was actually involved in putting Sater together with the Kazakhs – whether Sater understood that to be happening or not.
If the FBI was in on the hook-up, I would be inclined to think it was less as a puppet-master than as an agency whose relationship with Sater was a convenience. The motive to connect Sater and the Kazakhs probably didn’t come from the FBI (or DOJ).
That’s not where motive in this case would come from, just as it’s not where motive would have come from in the larger Spygate saga. The federal agencies are tools. The motive is from actors at a much higher level.
As a general note, any treatment with significant references to Felix Sater needs to acknowledge the trove of data compiled by Internet sleuth Julie Lewis (@supersleuthgirl), whose Felix Sater Research site is the canonical compendium of information. We’ll encounter Julie Lewis a few times in this article.
Before moving doing some timeline analysis, as readers are by now familiar with it, one other observation. John Durham’s separate indictment of Michael Sussmann, with its lengthy allusions to Alfa Bank and the Neustar crowd, has added a body of dates to the 2015 timeline. Some of them are eye-opening in juxtaposition with Felix Sater’s two big outings in the same year.
The Neustar-Alfa Bank thread adds in particular to our recognition that there was a lot of witting activity related to the Spygate targeting of Trump in 2015. Some very interesting events predated Trump’s ride down the escalator in June 2015.
Maybe, as Lee Smith has posited, that’s because the original target of Spygate was to be Joe Biden (Hillary Clinton’s chief Democratic rival in 2015). I consider the door open on that and by no means dismiss it as a possibility. Biden’s vulnerabilities through his son Hunter’s “business” connections would have been well known to other senior Democrats and their backers at that point. Whatever their motive for targeting him, Biden had painted the bull’s-eye of suspect connections on his own back.
There’s also the possibility that Trump had been under surveillance for some time, through some of the same dubious uses of U.S. national intelligence tools we know about from after mid-2015 (and perhaps, per the Sussmann indictment, others we hadn’t thought of before).
Indeed, the most recent Durham court filing, which came to light after this article was started, provides new details that indicate there was certainly opportunity for spying cues before mid-2015.
There could have been actors in the Spygate drama who had a good idea before June that Trump was going to run for president. In my view, that tends to explain some of the events of 2015 better than the Biden-targeting theory. But neither should be off the table.
A reminder here that all this matters: because of how the tools of national intelligence and law enforcement have been abused in service of political agendas that should have no more claim on the taxpayers’ patience or civil rights than on their pocketbooks.
What we may hope is that, if it sees development in a courtroom, Felix Sater’s counterclaim in the Kazakhs’ lawsuit will light up a passel of cockroaches – shady users of our government tools – who’ve been hiding in the dark. That, in short, is what Sater may shake out of the tree.
March 2019: Tide turns
Before we turn to the 2015 timeline, there are two separate analytical points to adduce.
One of them adds to the 2019 timeline, when the Kazakh plaintiffs and Arcanum filed their lawsuit against Sater.
That suit was filed on 25 March 2019, which as noted in the January article was shortly before the first round of the Ukrainian presidential election that year. Given the strong showing of outsider candidate Volodymyr Zelensky in the pre-election polls, and the ethics woes of the Bidens and their connections in both Ukraine and Kazakhstan, the prospect of a Ukraine freed from the rule of the Biden-friendly Petro Poroshenko, who had earlier quashed the chief prosecutor’s inquiry into Burisma and its Biden ties, had to be alarming,
It would have been especially so in light of Nursultan Nazarbayev’s resignation from the presidency of Kazakhstan on 20 March 2019, after nearly 20 years of oligarchic rule. It was under Nazarbayev’s tenure that so many Americans had been involved in questionable activities in Kazakhstan, including the Bidens as well as the Clintons. Changing the guard there could well result in exposure through follow-on probes. And Felix Sater was likely to have information very relevant to such a vulnerability.
Filing a lawsuit to gain leverage over Sater, and as a means of dirtying him up, would have had very timely application in late March 2019. But one more event appears equally salient.
That would be the finalization and publication of the Mueller report. Mueller’s report was forwarded to new Attorney General Bill Barr for approval on 22 March 2019, and at that point, all the main actors in Spygate knew that the report had found nothing to hang on Trump in court.
The leverage value of the Mueller operation was essentially ended at that point. The Spygate actors needed a new tack, and from any relevant view of Sater, it was useful to the anti-Trump forces to drag him into court. For one thing, Sater’s findings from his work for the Kazakhs could well be a threat, not only to the Clintons and perhaps other democrats, but in particular to Joe Biden, whose interests they were quite obviously determined to protect throughout 2019.
For another thing, getting Sater into court could be a way to pump the well for information to use against Trump. As we’ve seen throughout the Spygate saga, Trump’s enemies didn’t need legitimate information, and certainly not a smoking gun. They could make do with any nugget that was spin-able.
Keep in mind as well that it was in the spring of 2019 that we began hearing about findings Rudy Giuliani was coming up with in Ukraine, particularly about the behavior of Ukrainian officials with authority over probes of Burisma and its connections, including the Bidens as well as Ukrainian oligarchs. It was quite possible for Felix Sater to have knowledge relevant to Giuliani’s detective work; the Spygate principals knew that, even if the public didn’t. With Mueller in the rearview mirror, there was some pretty strong motive to try to get leverage over Sater.
Again, we have no way to know how much of this Sater might have been specifically aware of, with first-hand knowledge and receipts. But his February 2022 counterclaim sure looks like he had an inkling.
Arcanum Global: Consulting firm with that AUSCANUKUS aura
The other analytical point is a bit of background on Arcanum, the consulting firm that represented the Kazakh parties in their asset-recovery effort.
There are dozens of companies worldwide with “Arcanum” in their names. The one that interests us is Arcanum Global, Inc, which was incorporated in 2010 in Delaware. The incorporation was done through a services company, but the proprietor is Masudul Rony Wahid, a Bangladeshi-American who goes by Ron and who since 1996 has assembled a small empire of under-the-radar, relatively low-revenue consulting and management companies around the globe.
Biographically, Wahid is cagey about the nature of his roles in advisory stints with the federal government. But he acknowledges working with both the Clinton and Bush 43 administrations, as well as a Senate committee (he doesn’t say which one), and claims a background in monitoring arms proliferation.
If he worked arms proliferation on the Emerging Threats subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee in the 2000s (his biographical material isn’t explicit on that), he probably crossed paths with Senator Hillary Clinton, who served on both SASC and the Emerging Threats subcommittee.
There’s a curious detail in information presented at the very basic Dun & Bradstreet summary of Arcanum Global. Sleuth-tweep @wakeywakey16 noticed it, and I was able to confirm that the detail was present when I retrieved the D&B information separately.
You’ll observe that a “Bill Clinton” is listed as the “president.” Nothing other than this D&B listing seems to contain the information, and there’s no way to verify it. It seems unlikely to be valid, with no corroborating references. It’s an oddity.
Several things strike one up front about Arcanum, one of which is that, for a company with offshoots in (among other places) the UK, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and – yes – Kazakhstan, it has hardly any money flowing through it. That, at least, is according to the modeled revenue citation at Dun & Bradstreet. Corporate filings in the UK and Switzerland seem to bear that out.
Arcanum has high-powered directors and advisors, people who would normally receive sizable retainers. And with the number of full-time employees listed, the company’s compensation payouts would annually exceed its apparent revenues by a considerable margin.
This discrepancy is presumably explained by Arcanum’s status as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Magellan Investment Holdings Ltd, which was incorporated in Delaware in July 2018.
Previously the parent company was RJI Capital Corporation, the company Wahid formed in 1996. Both firms, like Arcanum Global, have foreign branches. Wahid founded all of the companies in question, along with various offshoots, like RJI Government Strategies, under which Wahid undertook representation of – among others – Emirati Sheikh Khalid bin Saqr al-Qasimi of Ras al-Khaimah (RAK), one of the United Arab Emirates. As detailed on 10 February, Wahid was representing the Sheikh at the same time (2008-2010) as a cast of Clinton cronies, the latter of whom subcontracted work on the case to Glenn Simpson.
The 10 February article also mentioned coal-lobbying work done for RJI Government Strategies by Tanya Rahall, sister of long-serving West Virginia congressman Nick Rahall (D). In a lawsuit after her departure from RJI, Ms. Rahall alleged that RJI had failed to properly disclose the identity of a Kazakh client from 2008, Rakhat Aliyev, ex-son-in-law of then-president Nursultan Nazarbayev.
There’s more on that story at the earlier post, but of interest for the record is that Rahall indicated the work for Aliyev was done under a lobbying registration for Speedy Funk Film UND. RJI Government Strategies registered as a lobbyist for Speedy Funk on 7 July 2008.
And on 8 July 2008, RJI Government Strategies registered as a lobbyist for RJI Capital Services AG, which as alert readers will guess was a Wahid firm incorporated in Switzerland.
RJI Capital Services AG was formed on 25 July 2007, according to Swiss records. It was later taken over by the Swiss Arcanum company, also belonging to Wahid.
The lobbying issues for RJI Capital Services AG were listed as “Energy/Nuclear, Financial Institutions/Investments/Securities, Foreign Relations.”
For Speedy Funk Film the issues were: “Foreign Relations, Media (Information/Publishing).”
Mr. Aliyev’s name was apparently misspelled (“Rahaat Ailyev,” although the misspelling may be an artifact of transcription at Pro Publica), and his name as client was listed as c/o a Dr. Otto Dietrich Jr. of “Wein” [sic], Austria. Which I assume to be Wien, or Vienna. No identifying client name is associated with the lobbying for Wahid’s Swiss-based RJI Capital Services AG.
One of a number of curiosities with Mr. Wahid’s companies. There is significant overlap in the personnel profile of Arcanum and the other companies; the whole thing looks like a collection of shell operations characteristic of intelligence fronts. We should have no doubt that actual work is done through Arcanum, and much of it may be legitimate. But unlike many better-known companies in the category, whose founders tout their high-level connections and professional exploits by names and timeframes, Mr. Wahid is extremely vague and uncommunicative about his.
That makes me curious at the outset about how Arcanum got hooked up with the Kazakhs (apparently in the 2000s), and vice versa.
Sport of kings clocks in
At any rate, the company does have some fascinating extended connections. One of them is parent company RJI Capital’s involvement with an event known as British Polo Day, which is held in several locations overseas under the aegis of Ed Olver, formerly a UK army soldier who served in Iraq, and a long-time officer in the British Household Cavalry. The Household Cavalry supplies the mounted guard for ceremonies at which the Queen presides.
In January 2016, Ron Wahid and his then-girlfriend (now his wife), Magdalena Kruszewska, were photographed at British Polo Day in India with Ed Olver.
In November 2016, RJI Capital sponsored British Polo Day in Singapore.
And Arcanum senior advisor Keith Bristow handed out an award at the event, named for RJI Capital (the “RJI Capital Plate”).
There’s online evidence of a continued relationship between RJI Capital and British Polo Day through at least 2017, though it’s a touch harder to find. In that year RJI Capital sponsored British Polo Day in the UK, and indeed posted a magazine-style brochure (apparently a handout to the guests) online.
Ron Wahid figures prominently in it (see pp. 10-11).
It’s worth noting that Wahid’s connection with Polo Day seemed to reach its apex in the period when RJI Capital subsidiary Arcanum was working with the Kazakhs on the Ablyazov asset-recovery project (i.e., from 2015 to 2018).
But another intriguing aspect of the British Polo Day connection is a dual link through it to Cambridge Analytica: the data analysis firm that got so much bad press when it was reported in 2018 that the firm had been used by the Trump campaign in 2016.
A scenic trip through homey posh precincts
Trump, it turned out, had little reason to know anything about Cambridge Analytica (other than what he may have learned from advisor Steve Bannon, who sat on the firm’s board for a short time, and worked closely with Robert and Diana Mercer, investor patrons of Cambridge Analytica and donors to Breitbart). In general, Trump has shown little interest in these aspects of political campaigning, and may have been only vaguely aware of using the company’s services.
But the British Polo Day cast of players had two major links to Cambridge Analytica. It strains credulity to imagine that a firm like Arcanum could hover around British Polo Day for several years and not be aware of the connections to that interesting enterprise.
One connection was through Ed Olver, the brains and impetus behind British Polo Day. Olver is the son of Jake Olver, who retired from a position as a vice president of Cathay Pacific Airlines. Cathay Pacific was in turn owned by the Swire family and its group of private companies, whose British entrepreneurial roots go back more than 200 years and for decades have had significant holdings in the Far East. (In the article on Ed Olver that mentions his father, Jake Olver’s career ties are summarized as being “various positions with the Swire group”).
Speaking of Swire, one of its senior executives in Australia, Roderick Eddington (former CEO of British Airways), was involved with the mining firm Rio Tinto in the mid-2000s when Uranium One contracted to buy its Australian uranium properties at Sweetwater and Green Mountain.
In fact, Eddington became a director of Rio Tinto on 1 September 2005, according to an SEC filing. (Alert readers will recall that it was on 6 September 2005 that Bill Clinton and Frank Giustra (Uranium One) made their famous visit to Kazakhstan.) The tender for Rio Tinto’s Australia properties was reported in July 2006.
Another Swire connection, a cousin of the business-empire family, represented East Devon in Parliament, back in the UK, for a number of years before retiring in 2019. Mr. Hugo Swire annoyed at least some of his constituents by advocating for investment in Kazakhstan; Swire’s business connections are also suspected of being linked to Oleg Deripaska.
To a jaded eye it could all look at least as swampy as anything going on in the U.S.
At any rate, Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, the British defense contractor Strategic Communication Laboratories (now SCL), was founded by another cousin of the Swires, Nigel Oakes. Accounts of the Swire companies indicate the ethos of family business remains strong, at least until recent years, so it’s likely that the Olvers – Jake and probably Ed as well – are at least acquainted with Nigel Oakes.
Ed Olver himself would indubitably be acquainted with another Cambridge Analytica connection. That individual is Alexander Nix, who cofounded SCL with Oakes, and became the CEO of Cambridge Analytica in 2013 (before it was disbanded in 2018).
The connection is so certain because Mr. Nix is an avid polo player who has appeared with polo teams for British Polo Day events. He is listed as one of the team players for British Polo Day in the UK in 2017, as a matter of fact (p. 57). We can assume both Ed Olver and Ron Wahid know Alexander Nix.
The link of Wahid’s RJI Capital and Arcanum with the Polo Day events at which Cambridge Analytica CEO Nix has been a feature tends to put the latter company’s emergence in the Spygate drama in a new light. As between the polo crowd, with its numerous British ties (including MI5 and Mi6), and Donald Trump, it’s not Trump who had any evident prior connection to the British company.
At this point, after years of this recurring pattern – Spygate perpetrators themselves having the connections they’ve sought to pin on Trump – we are justified in suspecting the whole Cambridge Analytica side-drama was a set-up.
I admit, it has always seemed curious to me that the Mercers basically disappeared from the saga, and pulled support from Breitbart, after the supposed revelations about the British analysis firm. What Cambridge Analytica was doing simply wasn’t that nefarious. Or if it was, a half-dozen other companies that did the same thing for Obama in 2008 and 2012, and Romney in 2012, should have come in for their share of caterwauling horror. (In fact, Facebook itself, where Cambridge Analytica was “harvesting” data, should be run out of town on a rail – because it charges money for the opportunity to harvest data on you.)
Some timeline juxtapositions
If we run RJI and Arcanum through our usual timeline filter, we also shake out another handful of fascinating dates. That’s what we’ll look at next.
Ron Wahid, as mentioned earlier, formed RJI Capital Corporation in Delaware in 1996. That seems to have been the earliest company he founded, or at least the earliest still in existence. He has incorporated a number of companies since then, including what is now the parent company of Arcanum, Magellan Investment Holdings, Ltd. Magellan was formed in 2018.
But along the way there are a couple of eye-opening company-formation dates that hark back to the eye-popping quality of Stephan Roh’s timing with the Severnvale nuclear trading company in the UK, which mirrored key Uranium One dates with preternatural precision.
In fact, it’s so interesting that that pattern comes to mind because the first RJI Capital date of concern is fascinating in that it fell, shortly before Roh’s October 2005 buyout of Severnvale, just days after Bill Clinton and Frank Giustra went to Kazakhstan in September 2005.
The date in question marked Wahid’s creation of RJI Capital (UK) Limited. In our growing list of Strangely Related Things That Happened in September-October 2005, here’s the tally of highlights:
6 September 2005: The Clinton/Giustra visit to Kazakhstan, which ultimately resulted in Frank Giustra’s uranium deal
13 September 2005: Ron Wahid created a UK branch of RJI Capital, RJI Capital (UK) Ltd.
19 October 2005: Stephan Roh purchased Severnvale Nuclear Services Limited, a small one-man company created in 2004 to deal in uranium for medical applications.
Remember, as laid out back in January, Roh and Wahid both have links to Kazakhstan and Mukhtar Ablyazov. Roh’s paper trail snakes through the shell companies created, seemingly for Ablyazov’s ill-gotten gains from Kazakh bank BTA, in the 2006-2007 timeframe.
Wahid, for his part, more recently represented the Kazakh entities that hired Felix Sater in 2015, seeking to recover Ablyazov’s allegedly embezzled funds. But Wahid was representing other Kazakhs through RJI Government Strategies back in 2008, as described above and in the 10 February article on the Sheikh Khalid-Clintons connection.
In 2010 Wahid incorporated Arcanum Global in Delaware.
Then, for another arresting coincidence, fast-forward to March 2015. In that month, on 23 March, a company called Litco, LLC was incorporated in Delaware by a business incorporation service, Corporation Service Company. We can’t be certain if this is the company Felix Sater used for his contract with Arcanum and the Kazakhs.
Another Litco – Litco II, LLC – was formed in Delaware on 13 May 2015, also by Corporation Service Company.
Companies with Litco in their names were formed in February and April of 2015: Litco Investments LLC on 25 February 2015 in Calabasas, California, and Litco Consulting LLC on 6 April 2015 in McLean, Virginia. I don’t think it’s going out on a limb to assume those aren’t our droids.
Meanwhile, on 23 March 2015, Ron Wahid created the UK company Magellan Investment Holdings Ltd. which a year later became the UK parent company of RJI Capital (UK) Ltd. and Arcanum Global (UK).
Occam’s Razor would have us accept that the only Delaware-incorporated company named, exactly, “Litco, LLC,” which was created on 23 March 2015 – a date that fits with the description in the Kazakhs’ lawsuit against Sater (“spring of 2015”) – is the Litco Sater used for his dealings with the Kazakh clients.
If so, what are the odds on Sater’s front company and Wahid’s Magellan UK, which became the new parent of Arcanum Global UK, being incorporated on the same day by mere happenstance?
If you like those odds, you have to love Spygate, because it seems to happen quite a lot.
One more drive-by with a date before we wind this down. In the January article on Sater’s interactions with Arcanum and the Kazakhs, I noted that 8 June 2015 was the day the Kazakhs’ 2019 lawsuit says Litco and Arcanum, representing the Kazakh clients, made their Confidential Assistance Agreement (CAA) for Sater’s services.
Noted in a more recent article on a John Durham court document was the following series of dates, including Sater’s:
2 June 2015: Trump Hotels announced its payment services vendor had been hacked, but that the company was working with the FBI and full, secure service with the vendor had been restored. (The event has gotten more scrutiny than it otherwise might have because the later allegations about Russia’s Alfa Bank and Trump involved another Trump Hotels contractor.)
5 June 2015: The IT company Neustar, whose senior executive Rodney Joffe has figured prominently in John Durham’s case against Michael Sussmann, abruptly sold off an entire division of the company – one devoted to helping telecom clients manage their compliance with FISA requests for communications data. Neustar exited the FISA compliance business entirely with that move, although the company at the time had by far the largest clientele in the U.S. for the compliance service.
8 June 2015: according to the Kazakhs’ 2019 lawsuit, Felix Sater’s Litco made the CAA to provide asset-recovery assistance for the bank funds allegedly embezzled by Mukhtar Ablyazov.
16 June 2015: Donald Trump announced his 2016 candidacy for president.
New kids on the timeline block
An addition to the timeline merits inclusion, although the authenticity and contents of the document can’t be vouched for. In August 2019, the Wall Street Journal published a fairly extensive article on Felix Sater’s background as an asset for agencies of the U.S. government, including during the years Sater worked with Donald Trump on various projects.
That article, as noted in a recent Twitter exchange, was published on 23 August 2019, the day before a Skullduggery podcast was posted in which Sater told the host about a letter his lawyer had given to Trump in June 2015, shortly after Trump declared his candidacy.
It was also the day a released government document confirmed a detail in Sater’s story: that he had helped track Osama bin Laden.
See the rest of the Julie Lewis (@supersleuthgirl) thread for more on the prior, gradual unfolding of evidence about Sater’s work for the federal government.
The Monsieurs Ghost extract in the tweet forwarded by Julie Lewis reads: “Donald knew [i.e., about Sater’s work for federal agencies]. I lightly briefed him in the 2000s. In 2015 I gave him a very detailed letter of everything I did. A letter from my attorney to his attorney.”
Again, emphasizing that we can’t verify the letter’s contents or authenticity, Mr. Sater later provided what he says is a copy of that letter to Twitter user Monsieurs Ghost (and Julie Lewis). The letter is dated 23 June 2015.
A key point about the letter is that it’s something Sater was likely to provide to Trump, to ensure Trump would be prepared for “surprises.” Any skepticism about the letter isn’t due to the motive or purpose, but to the inability to independently verify it.
As Julie Lewis notes in the tweet thread, the letter was reportedly hand-delivered. Sater and his attorney apparently weren’t taking any chances. Presumably they knew the milieu they operated in.
It’s fair, as well, to take note of Monsieurs Ghost’s point that the timing of the podcast in August 2019, and the media reporting at WSJ and BuzzFeed, have the look of a little campaign to get a story out. In that regard, it’s noteworthy that both outlets chose to run with it. They didn’t seem to think they were putting out bogus information. But the obvious party with a motive to get the story published was Sater.
Other significant events in August 2019 included the brewing of the “Ukrainegate” story (which didn’t break in the media until September, but turned out to have been pretty much an open secret among Capitol Hill Democrats), and the 90-day mark from when the Hunter Biden laptop was dropped off at a computer repair shop in Delaware in April 2019. Nothing we know about today would lead us to make connections there.
Jeffrey Epstein died in his federal jail cell on 10 August 2019, an event with its own relevance to Spygate. There was quite a lot of scrambling in far-flung corners related to Epstein’s arrest and subsequent death (as well as other events in that month).
A sideline oddity – maybe not so sideline, but we don’t know right now – is that just before Sater’s revelation about the letter to Trump, released in the 24 August 2019 podcast, former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne, guy pal of Maria Butina, told Fox News he had given extensive information to John Durham on work he did for the FBI.
Byrne spoke to Martha McCallum in an interview on 22 August 2019, the day he resigned from Overstock in the hope of sparing the company any blowback from his revelations to Durham. In the interview, Byrne stated that in the course of his cooperation with the FBI, he had “set up X, Y, and Z for some felony charges,” referring, he said, to top officials in the Obama administration.
As with so many elements of Spygate, we’re still waiting to see what, if anything, may come of that. The gelatinous muck of the “Swamp” reveals itself only little by little. We still see the year 2019 through a glass darkly. But as hindsight increases the image’s resolution, the various players who aligned around Trump and the anti-Trump crowd back in 2015 are starting to show pattern.
Feature image: Ready for its draining. (YouTube)