Felix Sater, key figure in Trump Tower Moscow project, to testify in open session

PHOTO: Former Trump adviser Felix Sater speaks to ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos.PlayABC News, FILE
WATCH Felix Sater: I'm only guilty of trying to build the world's tallest building

A Soviet-born businessman who featured prominently in plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow will testify in an open session on March 14 before the House Intelligence Committee, the panel’s chairman announced Thursday.

Interested in Donald Trump?

Add Donald Trump as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Donald Trump news, video, and analysis from ABC News.
Add Interest

Felix Sater, a former adviser to President Donald Trump, could shed light on his ill-fated collaboration with the president’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to build a Trump Tower in the Russian capital.

PHOTO: Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney of President Donald Trump, rides an escalator at the Capitol as he arrives to testify before a closed House Intelligence Committee hearing, Feb. 28, 2019. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney of President Donald Trump, rides an escalator at the Capitol as he arrives to testify before a closed House Intelligence Committee hearing, Feb. 28, 2019.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, announced plans to host Sater after a lengthy closer-door interview with Cohen, who negotiated the proposed Trump Tower-Moscow deal on behalf of the Trump Organization.

The timing of the Trump Tower-Moscow project has become a source of controversy amid the ongoing investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Cohen pleaded guilty in November to charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller of lying to Congress about whether the Trump Organization had pursued the Moscow real estate project while Trump was securing the GOP nomination in 2016.

On Wednesday, in a public session before the House Oversight Committee, Cohen corrected his previous testimony about the timeline of the Moscow project.

PHOTO: Donald Trump visited Colorado to talk at the Bixpo 2005 business convention at the Budweiser Events Center, Loveland, Colo., Sept. 14, 2005. Trump walks outside the center after the speech with Felix Sater. Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Donald Trump visited Colorado to talk at the Bixpo 2005 business convention at the Budweiser Events Center, Loveland, Colo., Sept. 14, 2005. Trump walks outside the center after the speech with Felix Sater.

“I lied to Congress about when Mr. Trump stopped negotiating the Moscow Tower project in Russia,” Cohen said in an opening statement. “I stated that we stopped negotiating in Jan. 2016. That was false -- our negotiations continued for months later during the campaign.”

Cohen not only admitted to lying about the timing of the project, but detailed Trump’s alleged involvement and interest in executing the deal -- even after he won the Republican party nomination.

“After each communication that I had [about the Trump Tower Moscow project], I would report back to [Trump] and our goal was to get this project,” Cohen said. “We were interested in building what would have been the largest building in all of Europe.”

PHOTO: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) departs after the conclusion of testimony from Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney of President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill, Feb. 28, 2019. Jim Young/Reuters
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) departs after the conclusion of testimony from Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney of President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill, Feb. 28, 2019.

Sater met with Senate investigators in April of 2018 about his involvement in the Trump Tower Moscow project. Sater promised to “get all of Putin's team to buy in” on the proposed Moscow plan, according to emails he wrote to Cohen first published by The Washington Post and The New York Times.

“I know how to play it, and we will get this done,” Sater wrote in the emails. “Buddy, our boy can become president of the USA, and we can engineer it.”

In an interview with ABC News in March of 2018, Sater -- who says that for the past two decades he has served as a high-level intelligence asset for the DIA, CIA and the FBI -- sought to recast himself as an unheralded protector of the United States.

“I am a patriot,” he said. “Having the opportunity to serve my country and do anything in its defense was a no brainer. It was, ‘Where do I sign up?’”

The president sought to distance himself from Sater during the 2016 campaign, even though the Russian émigré played a role in a number of high-profile Trump-branded projects across the country and even carried a business card boasting a title of “senior adviser” to Trump.

“If he were sitting in the room right now, I really wouldn't know what he looked like,” Trump testified in a video deposition for a civil lawsuit two years ago.

ABC News' Matthew Mosk and Pete Madden contributed reporting.