Trump’s relationship with Sater was not likely the byproduct of a chance meeting, according to a group of former federal agents interviewed recently by Narco News. The veteran agents, all of whom have extensive experience in intelligence operations and in handling informants, contend Sater likely cozied up to Trump on purpose in an effort to advance his informant goals.
Several of the agents said Trump’s business network represents a target-rich environment, both for law enforcement and intelligence agencies. They said Sater, if he was doing his job as an informant, would have been reporting back to his FBI and other law-enforcement and intelligence-agency handlers about Trump’s activities.
Sater, when asked about his relationship with Trump in a recent email interview with Narco News, declined to address whether he was monitoring Trump as part of his informant role, or if his government handlers were aware of his business dealings with Trump. Sater did say, however, that “I’m pretty sure the government knew my dog’s weight down to the ounces”— an indication that the law enforcement and intelligence agencies he was reporting to were well aware of his business dealings with Trump.
Whether Trump was aware that Sater was an informant from the start is not clear. Trump, according to media reports, denies he knew about Sater’s sordid past when they met and began working on deals. Trump’s press secretary, Hope Hicks, did not respond to a request for comment.
In 2007, however, the New York Times published a story about Sater’s past criminal history and his alleged cooperation with the U.S. government, a story in which Trump is quoted. It seems Trump should have known Sater was likely an informant at that point, yet he still continued to do business with Sater.
One of the former federal agents interviewed by Narco News, who asked not to be named, said if Trump continued to work with Sater even after he became aware that Sater was an informant, it could be a sign that Trump, too, may have been cooperating with federal authorities.
“One possibility is that Trump was working with the Russians [relying on Russian investments to fund his ventures] and the U.S. government planted Sater [in Trump’s orbit] to monitor that activity,” said Celerino Castillo, a former DEA agent who played a key role in exposing the US government’s role in narco-trafficking during the Iran/Contra era. “The Russians launder a lot of money.”