Associate who worked on Moscow Trump Tower to testify before House

Felix Sater, the Russian-born business associate of President Donald Trump who worked on the Moscow Trump Tower project, told CNN Wednesday he will testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Friday.

Sater’s testimony, which will be behind closed doors, is a sign that the House Intelligence Committee is ramping back up its investigation into the President’s finances and potential foreign influence.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff confirmed that Sater was coming for a staff-led interview, and said Sater was one of several witnesses the committee would bring in connected to the Trump Tower Moscow project.

“It’s not a start-up (to the investigation) because we have been doing this from the beginning of this session. We are finally getting witnesses in,” Schiff said. “It’s obviously quicker and easier to get witnesses in (who are) unaffiliated with the administration, since they’re obstructing everything.”

Sater had been scheduled to appear publicly before the committee in March, but Schiff postponed that hearing after special counsel Robert Mueller finished his report. The House Judiciary Committee also postponed a closed-door interview with Sater that has not been rescheduled.

Schiff said at the time that Democrats had to focus on obtaining the full Mueller report and evidence, but now the California Democrat and other committee leaders investigating the President have turned back to their own probes. House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler brought in former White House communications director Hope Hicks on Wednesday, while Schiff has issued subpoenas for testimony from former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign deputy Rick Gates, who both pleaded guilty in the special counsel’s probe.

“Our investigation has always focused on counterintelligence issues, that is, is the President or anyone around him compromised in some way? That work has to go on,” Schiff said after the Sater testimony was postponed in March.

The Washington Post first reported Sater’s interview on Friday.

The committee is interested in Sater because of his work on the Trump Tower Moscow project with Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen.

Sater and Cohen’s work on the Trump Tower Moscow project is included in the Mueller report, including discussions of Trump traveling to Russia and Cohen’s outreach to the office of President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary.

Both Sater and Cohen spoke to the House Intelligence Committee during the panel’s Republican-led investigation into Russian interference, but the committee brought Cohen back earlier this year after Democrats took control of Congress.