Trump’s Foreign Policy Philosophy Hard to Pin Down

Trump’s Foreign Policy Philosophy Hard to Pin Down

Masood Farivar, Voice of America

Is President-elect Donald Trump a foreign policy realist or idealist? Is he bringing Richard Nixon’s hard-edged realpolitik to his foreign policy or following in the footsteps of the more idealistic Ronald Reagan?

The question has become a parlor game among Washington's policy pundits.

Trump’s frequent invocation of Reagan’s “peace through strength” mantra and campaign pledge to rebuild America’s “depleted” military has invited comparisons to the Republican icon credited with winning the Cold War.

His advocacy of a foreign policy based on America’s national interests has led some to liken it to Nixonian realism, while his aversion to foreign interventions has won him the label of a non-interventionist and even isolationist.

Don’t Fence Trump In​

Trump has professed no great power doctrine and his advisers discourage applying labels to his vision of the world.

“I’m not going to be put into the little academic, graduate school box because I think it doesn’t suit, and it doesn’t apply in a rapidly changing world,” said K.T. McFarland, Trump’s incoming deputy national security adviser, when asked to describe the Trump doctrine.

While Trump’s call for “peace through strength” reflects Reagan’s view of deterrence, “there are parts of Nixon and (Henry) Kissinger that Donald Trump has also advocated,” McFarland said at the U.S. Institute of Peace, alluding to Trump’s interest-based approach to world affairs.

Trump’s Speeches

A foreign policy neophyte, Trump has shied away from declaring any grand foreign strategy during the campaign, though he did give two major speeches devoted to foreign policy and national security.

In the first speech, delivered at the realist-leaning Center for the National Interest in Washington in April, Trump outlined what he called a “coherent foreign policy based on American interests” and called for “getting out of nation building,” creating stability and quashing “radical Islam.”

“Containing the spread of radical Islam must be a major foreign policy goal of the United States and indeed the world,” Trump said. “Events may require the use of military force, but it’s also a philosophical struggle, like our long struggle in the Cold War.”

In the second speech, at Youngstown University in Ohio in August, Trump ratcheted up his rhetoric about terror, warning countries around the world that they’d be judged based on their commitment to the U.S. goal of fighting terrorism.

“All actions should be oriented around this goal, and any country which shares this goal will be our ally,” Trump told a rally of supporters.

‘Strategic Surprise’

It was a theme that Trump would repeat, in one iteration or another, throughout the campaign, but his advisers say Trump’s pre- and post-election pronouncements on foreign policy, often delivered off the cuff, should not be read as policy prescriptions.

“Actually, he didn’t say a lot about foreign policy and national security on the campaign trail, and what he did say really doesn’t add up to a policy,” said James Carafano, director of foreign policy at the conservative Heritage Foundation who advises the Trump transition team on foreign affairs. “That’s very frustrating because the people want to know what’s this guy going to do.”

With the new administration yet to take office, McFarland, too, cautioned that Trump’s foreign policy is in an early stage of development.

“That’s what a new administration does: It takes time to rethink things and to come up with policies,” she said.

If history is any guide, Trump could quickly find himself facing a set of foreign policy crises different from the issues he campaigned on. Political scientists have a term for an unexpected world event that drives a new president into uncharted territory: “strategic surprise.”

For former President George W. Bush, who campaigned on pursuing a “humble foreign policy,” the strategic surprise came September 11, 2001.

For President Barack Obama, who vowed to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the “Arab Spring” protests in North Africa and the Middle East marked a strategic surprise, leaving his administration more deeply mired in the region than he’d hoped.

What international crisis might alter the trajectory of the Trump administration’s foreign policy agenda has become a guessing game, with the number of scenarios exceeded only by the variety of foreign policy labels attributed to Trump.

A game-changing terrorist attack on American interests is one possible candidate. Another contender: an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) launch by North Korea.

“I think the world is not necessarily going to allow President Trump to do everything he’s planned on,” said Blaise Misztal, director of the national security program at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington. “I think you’re going to see a triangulation between what he’s said, what he’s advised to do, and what is actually feasible on the world stage.”

Flip Flopping on Issues

While Trump has flip flopped on some issues, NATO and torturing terrorists, for example, he’s held steady on others. Among them: terrorism, trade, China and Russia.

In the weeks since his election, he’s reiterated his pledge to make terrorism a focus of his foreign policy, talked tough on trade, challenged the “One China” policy, and iterated again a desire to reset relations with Russia even as he embraced intelligence findings that Moscow interfered in last year’s presidential election.

Brian Katulis of Center for American Progress, a liberal Washington think tank, said the “most radical shift” Trump will likely undertake will be “engagement and involvement” with Russia, something Obama unsuccessfully attempted during his first term in office.

But former CIA director Michael Hayden said Trump is likely to reconsider his approach to Russia once he learns from intelligence agencies and allies that Russia and Syria are not committed to fighting IS.

“I’m personally very, very skeptical of any convergence between American and Russian interests in this part of the world,” Hayden said. “In fact, I’d offer the view that American and Russian interests are actually heading in different directions.”

Another major change: downplaying a postwar American foreign policy tradition of promoting democracy and freedom around the world.

“Trump has signaled as a candidate and in the transition a proclivity to appreciate authoritarian and repressive leaders around the world,” Katulis said. “And this may be the biggest departure that is historic, that there really won’t be as much of a values-based approach that focuses on human rights democracy and freedom in other countries. And that I think puts the United States itself on shaky territory.”

But McFarland played down those concerns, saying “the three bedrocks of (postwar) American foreign policy” — American leadership, American values and international alliances — will remain under the Trump administration.


There is usually some continuity between administrations on foreign policy, but “that rule actually may not apply under Trump,” Katulis said.

“We’re dealing with something here that is just fundamentally different and off the charts,” Katulis explained.

That 'something' is Trump’s well-known unpredictability. Trump has criticized President Obama for telegraphing his policy moves and has vowed to remain unpredictable. But experts say unpredictability can be dangerous in the international arena where both allies and adversaries expect a certain degree of predictability from the United States.

"Predictability is the cornerstone of deterrence," said Clarke. "You need to be predictable if you’re the United states, both in what your allies know you’ll do and in what your adversaries know you’ll do and how you’ll respond."

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Jaw-dropping moment from @PressSec —asked if @POTUS denounces anti-Muslim sentiment, he talks about "radical Islamic terrorism" + attacks —>

@AnneFrankCenter: Trump Anti-Semitism stmt "pathetic asterisk of condescension" after wks of grotesque acts+omissions

Trump was asked about anti-Semitism 2x last wk: 1st answer about his victory; 2nd he told reporter his Q = insulting

Ever notice the love affair between the US far right and European far right....and Russia/Putin...

Germany far right party AfD leader has met with Kremlin officials in a secretive meeting in Moscow. #elections2017 

So a civilian white nationalist on the Trump NSC Bannon basically is driving US FP while he sends Pence...Tillerson and Mattis to give a countervailing view.....

That is exactly why the Europeans really just listened with a half of an ear to Pence...Tillerson and Mattis as they knew what Bannon was saying back in DC where power really lies....with Trump and Bannon a white nationalist....

Exclusive: White House delivered EU-skeptic message before Pence visit - sources

the week before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visited Brussels and pledged America's "steadfast and enduring" commitment to the European Union, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon met with a German diplomat and delivered a different message, according to people familiar with the talks.
Bannon, these people said, signalled to Germany's ambassador to Washington that he viewed the EU as a flawed construct and favoured conducting relations with Europe on a bilateral basis.
Three people who were briefed on the meeting spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter. The German government and the ambassador, Peter Wittig, declined to comment, citing the confidentiality of the talks.
A White House official who checked with Bannon in response to a Reuters query confirmed the meeting had taken place but said the account provided to Reuters was inaccurate. "They only spoke for about three minutes and it was just a quick hello," the official said.
The sources described a longer meeting in which Bannon took the time to spell out his world view. They said his message was similar to the one he delivered to a Vatican conference back in 2014 when he was running the right-wing website Breitbart News.
In those remarks, delivered via Skype, Bannon spoke favourably about European populist movements and described a yearning for nationalism by people who "don't believe in this kind of pan-European Union."
Western Europe, he said at the time, was built on a foundation of "strong nationalist movements", adding: "I think it's what can see us forward".
The encounter unsettled people in the German government, in part because some officials had been holding out hope that Bannon might temper his views once in government and offer a more nuanced message on Europe in private.
One source briefed on the meeting said it had confirmed the view that Germany and its European partners must prepare for a policy of "hostility towards the EU".
A second source expressed concern, based on his contacts with the administration, that there was no appreciation for the EU's role in ensuring peace and prosperity in post-war Europe.
"There appears to be no understanding in the White House that an unravelling of the EU would have grave consequences," the source said.
The White House said there was no transcript of the conversation. The sources who had been briefed on it described it as polite and stressed there was no evidence Trump was prepared to go beyond his rhetorical attacks on the EU - he has repeatedly praised Britain's decision to leave - and take concrete steps to destabilise the bloc.
But anxiety over the White House stance led French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the Munich Security Conference, to issue unusual calls last week for Pence to affirm during his visit to Europe that the U.S. was not aiming to break up the EU.
Pence obliged on Monday in Brussels, pledging strong ties between the United States and the EU, and making clear his message was shared by the president.
"President Trump and I look forward to working together with you and the European Union to deepen our political and economic partnership," he said.
But the message did not end the concerns in European capitals.
"We are worried and we should be worried," Thomas Matussek, senior adviser at Flint Global and a former German ambassador to the Britain and the United Nations, told Reuters.
"No one knows anything at the moment about what sort of decisions will be coming out of Washington. But it is clear that the man on top and the people closest to him feel that it's the nation state that creates identity and not what they see as an amorphous group of countries like the EU."
With elections looming in the Netherlands, France and Germany this year, European officials said they hoped Pence, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson could convince Trump to work constructively with the EU.
The worst-case scenario from Europe's point of view was described by Ischinger in an article published last week, entitled "How Europe should deal with Trump".
He said that if the U.S. administration actively supported right-wing populists in the looming election campaigns it would trigger a "major transatlantic crisis".

BLUF...this now explains the Merkel comments also made at the MSC2107....that the US should not try to damage the cohesion of EU....

Interestingly enough this is one of Trump's security advisors Gorka who is suppose to be this great wise guru on Islam....and "radical Islam"...but is not actually one......

What the hell is going on here, @USMC? …

Some military officers are always looking for the person who has "cracked the code" on things as complex as Islam, or the Middle East AND he claims he has in this article.

BTW...he clashed recently with the BBC on a live interview and is a great pusher of "alternative facts"....

Another good profile of #Ukraine's #Firtash, canary in the coal mine for Trump Justice Dept on #Russia 

Firtash is critical in order to understand the Russian's favorite Ukrainian oligarchs' activities in eastern Ukraine and Crimea...US wants him on corruption and money laundering charges......had been monitoring him via NSA FISA since 2006...

A major win for the rule of law...this arrest was instituted under though the Obama WH..

Firtash is key to understanding a lot of what Putin has done in Crimea and eastern Ukraine and is key in a number of extremely large Russian oligarch money laundering schemes including rumors of Putin being involved....

BREAKING: Vienna court grants US extradition request, ruling against Dmitry #Firtash. Judge now explaining decision

Reference Trump's Swedish tweets and comments....

InfoWars Editor buried in mockery after journos accepted his offer to pay for the trip to a SWE city named by Trump 

Interesting that a lawyer cannot quite seem to remember with whom he spoke on record.........

Michael Cohen told the Times that he delivered the Russia-Ukraine plan to Flynn. He told the Post that he didn't.

That's some quality Kremlin-y lawyering there.

BUT WAIT....THEN Cohen now admits to NBC he did in fact have a meetings....BUT WAIT...he did not take a "Russian peace plan" to Flynn".....

BUT in this article he states and it is a rather strange formulate for someone who claims he did not take a "Russian peace plan" to Flynn....

Cohen added that even if he had taken an envelope with a Ukrainian peace plan to the White House, "So what? What's wrong with that?"
The FBI and the U.S. intelligence community have been seeking to corroborate or disprove allegations in an unverified dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent that makes a series of claims about Trump and his associates. Among them is that Cohen met with a Russian representative in Prague during the presidential campaign to discuss Russia's hacking of the Democrats.
In the interview Monday with NBC News, Cohen said he was in Los Angeles when the meeting was supposed to have occurred, taking his son to a meeting with the baseball coach at the University of Southern California.
Trump's critics, he said, "are looking to malign President Trump, diminish his historic win and to undermine his presidency by claiming he didn't win — that it was given to him by the Russians," he said.

This so called lawyer has a number of different statements concerning the same meeting...first it did not occur then it did occur...then no peace plan NOTICE that he also claims he was in California at the same time he now admits he was in the meeting.......

BUT this quote is telling....IF he did not take a plan WHEN why the necessity for this comment....

Cohen added that even if he had taken an envelope with a Ukrainian peace plan to the White House, "So what? What's wrong with that?"

CRITICAL...if one does remember the Crimea annexation timeframe there was a meeting in Finland which Kissinger attended and strangely there is a number of points out of those suggestions that suddenly are in this Cohen/Flynn "Russian peace plan".....

Details of that Kissinger "peace plan" in 2014 was posted on the Ukraine thread....

Appears Trump's own personal lawyer cannot quite figure out his stories about this so called Russian peace plan...he is at FOUR now.....

Trump's lawyer has told 4 different stories about the Russia-Ukraine 'peace plan' debacle
Natasha Bertrand

Michael Cohen, an attorney for President-elect Donald Trump, arrives in Trump Tower in New York, Friday, Dec. 16, 2016.Richard Drew/AP
President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, was at the center of a bombshell New York Times report published Sunday that said he hand-delivered a "peace" plan for Russia and Ukraine to former national security adviser Michael Flynn before Flynn was asked to resign.
The plan — which the Times said was "pushed" by Cohen, businessman Felix Sater, and Ukrainian lawmaker Andreii Artemenko — involved lifting sanctions on Russia in return for Moscow withdrawing its support for pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine. It would also allow Russia to maintain control over Crimea, which it annexed in 2014.

Hours after the Times story was published, however, Cohen told The Washington Post that he had never delivered the peace plan to Flynn nor discussed it with anyone in the White House.
In an interview with the Post, Cohen corroborated the Times' report that he had met with Sater and Artemenko in a hotel lobby on Park Avenue in Manhattan in late January to discuss the proposal. He said the meeting lasted fewer than 15 minutes and acknowledged that he left with the plan in hand.
He "emphatically" denied, however, "discussing this topic or delivering any documents to the White House and/or General Flynn," adding that he told Artemenko that he could "send the proposal to Flynn himself by writing him at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave," the Post reported.
Cohen shifted his story again on Monday, telling Business Insider in a series of text messages that he denies "even knowing what the plan is."
However, he later acknowledged that he met with Artemenko in New York for "under 10 minutes" to discuss a proposal Artemenko said "was acknowledged by Russian authorities that would create world peace." 
"My response was, 'Who doesn't want world peace?'" Cohen said.
Stephanie Keith/Reuters

A New York Times spokesperson pointed Business Insider to a statement the newspaper had given Sunday: "Mr. Cohen told The Times in no uncertain terms that he delivered the Ukraine proposal to Michael Flynn’s office at the White House. Mr. Sater told the Times that Mr. Cohen had told him the same thing." 
Sater, a businessman of Russian descent who has boasted of his "relationship with Trump," told the Post last May that he "handled all of the negotiations" for the Trump Organization's dealings in Russia in the mid-2000s. Trump has distanced himself from Sater, insisting in sworn testimony as part of a 2013 lawsuit that "if [Sater] were sitting in the room right now, I really wouldn’t know what he looked like."
Sater told the Post that he thought Cohen was going to deliver the plan to Flynn, but that Cohen had to wait because Flynn was in the middle of a Russia-related firestorm. Cohen, for his part, was named as a "liaison" between Trump and the Kremlin in the explosive, unsubstantiated dossier presented by top US intelligence officials to Trump and senior lawmakers last month.
Sater was "not practicing diplomacy" in pushing the plan, which he entertained only because he "wanted to promote peace," he told Fox News on Monday. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii V. Artemenko, who met with Trump's campaign team during the election, was also involved in drafting the proposal. Artemenko told the Times he had evidence of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's corruption that could lead to his ouster.
Poroshenko has been locked in a war with pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine since he took power in 2014. He is considered more friendly to the West than his ousted predecessor, Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych's political rise was heavily aided by former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who worked as an adviser on Yanukovych's presidential campaign.
Cohen, for his part, called the reporting surrounding the meeting "#fakenews." He said he stands by his story that he never did anything with the plan.
"Change your fake story or lose my number," Cohen said. "I have no time for Trump haters."

Gorka on pro-Russia ‘peace plan’: ‘1000s have died in Crimea’ 

Remember Gorka is a Trump NSC advisor.....

THIS tells me he did not ever believe it would become the front page news of New York Times........

Ukrainian MP who pushed Russia peace plan to Trump refuses to resign after outcry at home, expulsion from party. 

SO exactly just why did he do this and even better who pushed him to do it???

Ukrainian lawmakers dismiss Ukraine "peace plan," suspect it originated w/ pro-Russia party 


BREAKING: Russian ambassador to UN Vitaly Churkin dies – Foreign Ministry

Another purely natural death within the Russian of a recent number actually....especially on the FSB side of the house...

The US is in serious FP trouble when even a Deputy NSA cannot give a coherent answer to a specific and straight forward question.....

The incoherence in answers given by Trump's Dep NatSec Advisor KT McFarland at a recent talk is STUNNING.

From the former Swedish PM.....who asked what Trump was smoking on his Swedish comments.....

Carl Bildt

Just a piece of friendly advice: when you are in a hole, stop digging.

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 3h
3 hours ago
Give the public a break - The FAKE NEWS media is trying to say that large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully. NOT!

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 19h
19 hours ago
My statement as to what's happening in Sweden was in reference to a story that was broadcast on @FoxNews concerning immigrants & Sweden.

So was there serious intent behind the Trump Swedish comment or just simply being totally uninformed...and now he is doubling down....

Remind me again why Sweden's problems with assimilating migrants are the public concern of the American President.

Question: Who wants to destabilize Sweden, a geo-strategically critical Baltic state, while feeding Europe's far-right over migrant-panic?

1. Trump
2. Putin
AND or both????

Pence, asked about US "moderating its commitment" to NATO, says "Questions about the future we’ll just leave in the future."

For the 2nd time, Pence declines to say the U.S. doesn't want more countries to leave the EU.

NOTICE that suddenly Pence swings back onto the Trump not so subtle view that the EU will not survive and the US will leave NATO as it is obsolete...

NOTICE that Pence suddenly has the same views of free press suppression that Trump does....

VP #Pence: "#Trump & I support free & independent press but will continue to call out media when they play fast and loose with the facts."

NOTICE Pence fails to critique the numerous Trump lies that are in fact proven to be lies....

VP Pence dodges question on whether Article 5 of NATO treaty may become conditional under Trump if countries fail to meet defense spending targets

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump Feb 2
If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view - NO FEDERAL FUNDS?

CPAC under pressure to cancel Milo speech after pedophilia defense.

Breitbart's Milo Yiannopoulos invited to speak at conservative conference

Where Milo, friend of @realDonaldTrump & keynote for CPAC, repeatedly advocates the benefits of adult men molesting 13 year old boys.

Someday someone should write piece on Milo's tenure at Telegraph (I was there) a decade ago. Episode was like Tom Sharpe crossed with Brüno

BUT WAIT...REMEMBER the Trump grabbing video......????
VIDEO: Milo Yiannopoulos believes that grabbing a woman's private parts is NOT sexual assault.
Full video:

REMEMBER the Trump tweet above was sent out when Milo's speech he wanted to hold in UC Berkeley was blocked by the UCB students....

Artemenko, new Ukraine MP who claims to have Putin-approved "peace plan," hails Trump via Dutch Putin ultra RW tool Wilders: 

When Russia denies something in public then you know that whatever they are denying is actually true....

Time and time again we have seen this to be true in their annexation of Crimea...then in their invasion of eastern Ukraine WHERE not a single Russian soldier ever supposedly set foot in and then onto their air strikes on hospitals and the use of cluster munitions and thermobaric weapons on civilians...

The Kremlin dismissed a report on a secret plan to lift sanctions on Russia as 'absurd'

Takes a lot to shock the Russia n FM these days as he basically lies about just anything so to be shocked says something......

Lavrov is shocked - shocked - that US intel eavesdrops on Russian ambassador in Washington.

AND the FSB/SVR does not do it to the US Embassy and Consulates in Russia???

Just SOP for both countries....

Trump's team triggers fears he'll adopt alternative economic facts along with his alternative truth facts 

Ukraine ambassador attacks Trump allies' secret peace plan 

Notice the Trump WH says nothing about this Russian involvement at all....

He's the founder of a Californian independence movement. Just don't ask him why he lives in Russia.

Russia has held in the last two years a major meeting of global ultra right wing groups and this Californian group has been there ae well....and the Texas independence group as well....

BUT Trump is worried about Muslim immigrants????

See how Trump lied about his ties to Felix Sater: The Many Times Donald Trump Has Lied About His Mob Connections 

Felix Sater's 'TRUMP' biz card for 'The Trump Organization' at Trump Tower NY

Under Sater's name it states 'Senior advisor to Donald Trump'

From the unaired BBC interview in 2013.....

"For a year you stayed in bed with Felix Sater & he was connected w/ the mafia"

Trump: "Again John, maybe you're thick"

More on Trump and Felix Sater.

As well as a reminder of how Trump entered casino biz in Atlantic City:

Ukrainian MP Andriy Artemenko who is pushing "Kremlin-backed" peace plan to Trump is a founder of not "Right Sector", but he is chairman of "Solidarity of Right Forces" a far-right group in UA.
Awaiting Ukrainian confirmation of this comment.....

Looks like he often switched positions/parties, but now urges rapprochement w Russia and was a guest of Dana Rohrabacher.

Noah Sneider
Verified account
Perhaps most telling is that the Ukrainian politician whose plan Trump’s lawyer pushed is a nobody in Kiev...

BUT WAIT.....the Sater story is getting even more weirder by the hour.....

Swindler, Stinger-missile brokers, the CIA

How a developer of Fort Lauderdale Trump Tower, a troubled project that cost investors millions, got the feds to erase his criminal past.

By Michael Sallah

A decade before he launched the celebrated Fort Lauderdale Trump Tower, Felix Sater hatched a bold plan to keep out of prison.

Charged in a New York securities scandal, the 46-year-old businessman traveled to his native Russia where he took on a unique role that went far beyond flipping on dangerous criminals.

He began spying for the CIA.

Tapping into the vast underground of the former Soviet Union, Sater was able to track down a dozen Stinger missiles equipped with powerful tracking devices on the black market.

With the backing of U.S. agents, Sater agreed to buy the weapons — keeping them out of the hands of terrorists. In return, the CIA pledged to keep Sater from going to jail in the stock scam he concocted with New York organized crime figures.

The deal was set.

Damage `incalculable'

Now, years after the failure of the Trump Tower, a legal battle has ensued between burned investors trying to reveal Sater's background and federal agents who say national security is at stake.

"The problem is at scandal level, and the damage done to victims is incalculable," argued attorney Richard Lerner in a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Next month, a New York federal judge will decide whether to release dozens of documents in a dispute that alleges Sater stole millions from investors while he was given sweeping protections by prosecutors.

Saying the government has a duty to protect witnesses, prosecutors are fighting to keep Sater's case hidden in a battle that's expected to be heard by the justices.

Even the federal judge, Leo Glasser, has weighed into the case, arguing in a hearing that revealing some of the secrets could "significantly affect matters of national interest."

Though the federal prosecutor's office in Brooklyn has declined to talk about Sater's role with the government, records just released show he was finally sentenced in 2009 — 11 years after he was charged in the New York stock fraud case.

The outcome: a $25,000 fine, no prison time.

In addition, he was not ordered to pay back his victims — mandatory under federal law — despite losses totaling $40 million.

What remains sealed is the work that Sater performed for the government in the past 14 years that's now the topic of the court fight.

During one hearing, the judge said the case had reached top members "of a national law enforcement security agency. I should say agencies — plural." But he didn't elaborate.

The fight has been taken so seriously the judge is using the name John Doe instead of Sater to hide his identity and to "protect the life of the person."

Despite the drama over hiding his past, some details have been divulged over the years, including records in the National Archives that show he cooperated with prosecutors in the securities scheme.

Then, another defendant in the scam, Salvatore Lauria, co-wrote a 274-page book in 2003 describing the deal they cut with the CIA to stay out of prison.

"We were hoping for a free ride or a get-out-of-jail-free card for our crimes on Wall Street," he wrote in The Scorpion and the Frog: High Crimes and High Times.

When Sater was charged in the securities scandal in 1998, he was already in Russia with another defendant, Gennady Klotsman, according to the book, which used a pseudonym for Sater.

In the next two years, the three men would look for ways to stay out of prison with Sater delving into the dangerous world of arms traders and smugglers.

At the time, Russia was teeming with a network of people selling tanks, fighter planes, radar systems and missiles, wrote Lauria, 43.

"The CIA was worried the weapons would be sold to our enemies," he said.

For Sater, it was the perfect solution.

They would get Russian operatives to buy the anti-aircraft missiles from terrorists — with the CIA kicking in $300,000 for each missile, the book states.

The deal would collapse — with the CIA and FBI at odds over the arrangement — but the crucial contacts in the black market would soon be fruitful for the defendants after the attacks of 9/11.

"Now the information was deemed important enough," Lauria said in the final chapter of his book.

Though Lauria changed his mind and tried to stop publication, saying it was a work of fiction, co-author David S. Barry said his research for the book was drawn from interviews, court documents, police reports, and federal records, among others.

Barry said he spent months communicating with Lauria, getting intricate details about their foray to snare the missiles with the help of Russian brokers.

"It was a straight effort of reporting on my part," said Barry, a former Associated Press reporter who has authored two other books.

Though most of the defendants in the stock swindle were sentenced by 2004, prosecutors pressed the court to delay sentencing for Sater so he could keep working with them — his racketeering crimes hidden.

In the ensuing years, he jumped into the real estate business, joining forces with Donald Trump who lent his name to projects in Fort Lauderdale, Phoenix and New York.

Sater was among the most visible members of the development team, interviewing with the media about the ventures, his conviction never revealed.

He would jet back and forth to South Florida, buying a condo on Fisher Island in 2007 while investing millions with his company in the Midtown Miami project the same year, records show.

Word leaks out

Not until a civil racketeering suit was filed two years ago accusing him and others of massive fraud in the Fort Lauderdale tower and other projects did his role in the $40 million stock scheme come to light.

A former finance director for the developers accused Sater and others of diverting millions from the IRS through shell companies.

The developers have vehemently denied the allegations, but the issue that galvanized the court was the fact that the lawyers inserted the sealed information about Sater in their case.

Prosecutors argued that the case could have been filed without tapping into the highly sensitive records that were somehow leaked to the lawyers.

"Something very bad and perhaps despicable was done by the use of those documents," said Judge Glasser.

Sater's former lawyer, Kelly Moore, also argued that sealing the records was not just crucial to "protecting human life" but "national security," records show.

But lawyers pressing the suit have now taken the case to the Supreme Court, saying the judge went far beyond his bounds by hiding a racketeering case for 14 years — including the entire docket.

"A covert dual justice system of secret criminal trials is illegal and can have no place in American law," wrote Lerner in a brief before the Supreme Court.

Paul Cassell, a former Utah federal judge who joined the appeal, said the victims were deprived of ever knowing whether a ringleader in a major stock scam was punished.

"[Sater] apparently continues to live the high life off of the money that he stole from victims," he wrote in a brief for the National Organization for Victim Assistance.

Though top suspects in the securities scam were ordered to make restitution, including three of the ringleaders, no such order exists for Sater, according to records just released.

"Just as pirates think that `Dead Men tell No Tales,' the government seems to believe that sealed cases will never be subject to public scrutiny," Cassell wrote.

NOTE...does not answer just how the Stringers got to Russia in the first place...were they stolen from the US by FSB sources and methods....and if working for the CIA then the CIA has far more information on Trump that previously thought......

EXCEPT...there have been IC comments that they have been tracking on their radar Trump for over 30 odd years...

Interestingly BBC interviewed Trump in 2013 about his connections to Sater a well known Russian mobster.....

You have to watch what happened in John Sweeney's 2013 interview for @BBCPanorama when Donald Trump is asked about Felix Sater & Bayrock

IMPORTANT....the issue around Bayrock is a tangled mess of Trump's involvement in corruption.....fraud and non payment of investors...all involving a number of well known Russian oligarchs and Russia mafia...

WHEN Trump was pushed for his working with Sater for over a full year in the Bayrock deal Trump simply gets up and walks away from the interview...

He also refused to answer anything on this point as well....
In unaired @BBCPanorama footage, Trump is asked how he shared a lawyer with Fat Tony" Salerno (a Genovese crime family boss in NYC)

THIS was 2013....

REMEMBER Trump has repeatedly stated he has never done deals with Russians...has no Russian business and knows no Russians.....REALLY?????

It just keeps on getting worse and worse....

Stephen Miller called US Attorney's home to dictate defense of travel ban at emergency hearing 

In the chaotic hours after President Trump signed on a Friday afternoon the sloppily written executive order meant to fulfill his Muslim ban campaign promise, Stephen Miller called the home of Robert Capers to dictate to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District how he should defend that order at a Saturday emergency federal court hearing.
That’s according to a federal law enforcement official with knowledge of the call, which happened as Department of Justice attorneys cancelled plans, found babysitters and rushed back to their Brooklyn office to try and find out what exactly it was they were defending and who was being affected by it — how many people were already being held in America, how many were being barred from arriving here and the exact status of each person.
Y’know, the information a competent administration would have been prepared to collect before implementing the order.
The Eastern District declined to comment on any contact between Capers and Miller, the 31-year-old former Jeff Sessions aide and America First true believer with no legal background of his own, who a few months ago was warming up Trump’s campaign crowds and is now writing executive orders for the President to sign.
We know that Capers didn’t refuse or resign but kept the stuff rolling downhill. It landed on his civil division chief, Susan Riley, who appeared herself Saturday, perhaps to protect attorneys in her shop from the humiliation of publicly telling a federal judge on behalf of the White House that she had no clue what she was talking about.
“This has unfolded with such speed,” Riley said in court, while asking for the order to remain in effect, “that we haven’t had an opportunity to address the issues, the important legal issues.” Or, she added, to even say how many people were being held.
The judge then stayed Trump’s order, as did another federal judge in a separate hearing the same night. Weeks later, a unanimous decision by a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel upheld a third stay. Several of the judges who’ve ruled against Trump’s order now reportedly have around-the-clock police protection.
The President wrathfully ripped one “so-called judge” who ruled against him and declared that the blood from any terror attack now would be on the hands of the judiciary. Now he says a new executive order is coming — a do-over , damn the courts.
That’s not how it works, since the legal issues the ongoing suits raise won’t all just disappear when Trump issues a new order. But it shows how hard it is to distinguish sloppiness from nastiness, clumsiness from willful disruption, in this terribly new, terribly different administration led by a President with no prior governing experience.
The progressives who were all a-giggle as this chaos agent exposed the hollowed-out hacks of the Republican Party back in the primary can’t say they weren’t warned. No one can, not after a year and a half of candidate Trump demeaning American institutions and insulting disabled reporters, old war heroes, Mexican-American judges, stupid Iowans and even the Pope.
So it's been nice to see the campaign counter-punching champ take hits from the courts and in the polls as President. He's learning the hard way that it’s tough to keep fighting the power once you are the power. (Bill de Blasio, who’s gearing up for his reelection bid this year by pretending he’s running against Trump, struggles with the same dilemma.)
But it’s damn late after November to keep underestimating Trump’s ability to profit from the chaos he creates, and damn is he good at creating it.
White House looking at all options to keep Trump travel ban alive
The administration on Friday dismissed as “100% false” an AP report about a draft executive order to activate the National Guard to round up immigrants . The Department of Homeland Security says the wire was wrong to report that Secretary John Kelly wrote the round-up order, and that it was never seriously considered. But we know that Kelly, like Capers, will carry out whatever half-baked orders Trump signs.
We know that Trump wants to speak not truth, but fear, to power. And that there will be events that spread fear.
At his epic press conference Thursday, Trump said the travel ban “had a very smooth roll-out” hampered only by a “bad court” and that his White House was a “fine-tuned machine” hampered only by “working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires” lit by journalists trying to fool the American people about his “incredible progress.”
Four weeks in, the President who sold himself as “the only one” who can protect the nation from “American carnage” is musing out loud about fake fires, as officials defend the indefensible on his behalf.

NOW it is rolling.....

Reuters: FBI investigating financial transactions and shell companies for Trump campaign links to Russians implicated in election hacking.

Senate Intel Committee tells Trump administration to "preserve records" related to Russia

Now it starts......

A week before Flynn resigned, plans were delivered to him outlining a way for Trump to lift Russian sanctions

IT appears in this NYTs article all those that have been previously mentioned in the Steele dossier that the Trump WH and Trump declared to have been a total fake....

BUT this week IC confirmed portions of that report to have been very valid and true...

NOTICE...this is extremely now interesting about this so called back channel and Ukrainians are paying close attention to who was part of this so called back channel.....

Bizarre tale of Trump associates joining forces with obscure Ukrainian lawmaker to attack Poroshenko and aid Russia.

AND there are no Russian connections on this????

It is interesting in this NYTs article that the name Sater is mentioned a number of times...

REMEMBER Trump has stated that he was sure he did not know anything about him...

BUT WAIT...he was a big pusher of Trump properties for oligarch Russian investors.....

Trump's secret deal with Russia was drafted by Mikey Cohen & Felix Sater.

Wait, I thought Trump barely knew Felix.

Sater is a convicted felon, stock scammer & Russian mafia associate. Y'know, just your average White House adviser. …

Sater is also the President of the American Russian Business Committee which has been tied to Russian Mafia businesses and to the Russian mob back in Russia....

Social media has been pointing to Sater for months being one of the top Trump Russian connections....

If this is correct, then Trump is linked to a Russian plot to undermine government of Ukraine and Flynn was fully aware of the plot as well....

Ukrainian and some initial European comments are now coming in on this NYTs article

While Pence shakes Poroshenko's hand at MSC....

Trump is plotting a Russia-backed "peace plan" to oust him....

So this was the basis for the Trump and Bannon "grand bargain".....

Senate order to not destroy and to secure all Russian records came on the very same day that the Director of the FBI briefed in Secret the Senate Intelligence Committee....

"There is real concern that some in the admin may try to cover up its ties to Russia by deleting emails, texts &other records"

Senate intel comm writes formal letters ro WH counsel, dozen entities to preserve all docs, emails for Russia probe 

Even more Trump chaos.....

Trump administration eyes changing how export data is counted over objections of career staff 

.@USEmbassyKyiv slams #Russia recognition of DNR, LNR documents. 

Stronger message if came from State Dept or WH.

BUT total silence from either DoS and or WH.....

No apparent US FP as of yet....

President Trump so far: "Do not confuse motion with progress...he's hardly done anything"

A rocking horse provides great motion but basically goes nowhere..."not a single inch of progress"...

The Romans use to say..."give the people bread and a circus"....and they will be satisfied...

Trump has been hacked. How secure is his phone these days? …

"Only losers get hacked" << @realDonaldTrump

Unless this is a gentle reminder from Moscow. We will know within a few hours.

In @realDonaldTrump's own words:

"We appeal to [..] hackers to release all data from that campaign site" media has repeatedly pointed out that Trump did not use a secured phone.....

Trump fired WH cyber security chief who tracks coms

Trump Needs a #Russia Policy, or #Putin Will Force One on Him. See what @EvelynNFarkas has to say in @ForeignPolicy 

She thoroughly understands Russia and even Obama ignored what she was telling him about Putin's intentions....

Trump leading the West is now embarrassing the West with his lies...

Former Swedish PM slams Trump: What has he been smoking?

Does he not realize that foreign leaders measure and then re-measures every single word he utters????

And then they are to "trust" any FP doctrine he pushes from now on????

The Associated Press

UPDATE: Swedish Embassy seeks State Department clarification of Trump's remarks suggesting major incident.

Swedish internet is going wild with jokes about Trump's non-existing "last night in Sweden" incident.

Trump is the world's laughing stock.

WHAT is extremely interesting though is that a former Assad Syrian fighter who claimed refugee status in Sweden...when a video showed up on social media showing he had been killing unarmed and bound up Syrians in the name of Assad....was recently sentenced in SWEDEN to life for war crimes...

THAT is something Trump and FOX both missed....

AND in that other important Trump FP area....."defeating IS and eradicating it from the face of the earth".....

Trump's first 30 days ends at noon. He has an hour to deliver on this campaign promise he made about defeating ISIS. 

REMEMBER Trump constantly bashed Clinton for "pay for play"....and then he started his "drain the swamp" mantra....

According to Eric Trump, Mar-a-lago will make about $8 million+ selling access to his father this year

This President and his immediate family have no "conflicts of interest"...really....

So just how does a Trump WH ever develop a FP that is not tied to his business interests????

The Senate has asked agencies to keep everything they find investigating the Russian hacking

Judicial Watch Planning to Sue FBI, NSA, CIA for Flynn Records

The Russians are turning on Trump — via @ForeignPolicy

As one who has been tracking Russian propaganda and actions since Crimea...then onto eastern Ukraine invasion and then onto Syria....

The "{Russians" truly felt they were going to see the sanctions against Russia lifted almost immediately by Trump.....

WHY did they anticipate that Trump move if they had not known about it far earlier...actually before Trump was elected?????

Fmr Putin adviser went on to say West world order/ US hegemony is collapsing and Russia is winning. He's more optimistic now than in years.

WHY does they now express this when they did not express the same thing when Obama was in the WH????

McCain....."when you suppress free media you have the beginnings of a dictatorship"...

BUT cannot be that Trump WH is beginning to suppress free media...

The argument of fake news stories no longer carries any weight because actually the information in those "fake news reports has largely be accurately true....

Priebus: Trump should be taken seriously when he calls press ‘the enemy’

The Hill

President Trump should be taken seriously in his claim that the media is "the enemy of the American people," White House chief of staff Reince Priebus says.

"I think you should take it seriously," Priebus said during an interview for CBS's "Face the Nation," when asked whether Trump's tweet about "fake news" media should be taken seriously.

"I think that the problem we've got is that we're talking about bogus stories like the one in The New York Times, that we've had constant contact with Russian officials," he continued.

"The next day, The Wall Street Journal had a story that the intel community was not giving the president a full intelligence briefing. Both stories grossly inaccurate, overstated, overblown and it's total garbage."

"So we spend, you know, 48 hours on bogus stories. And the American people suffer. So I do think it's a problem," Priebus added, saying the press in some cases "really needs to get its act together."

"The enemy?" CBS anchor John Dickerson pressed.

"If the theory is that the press is supposed to be a free forum of information to speak to the American people, I think it ought to be accurate," Priebus responded.

The White House official also called on reporters to stop using anonymous sources, something regularly relied upon for stories involving sensitive matters, including national security.

"I think that the media should stop with this unnamed source stuff, put names on a piece of paper and print it. If people aren't willing to put their name next to a quote, then the quote shouldn't be listed," Priebus said.

After the interview, Dickerson highlighted a tweet from Trump that included an unnamed source:

Trump often dismisses news organizations as "dishonest media" and on Friday called "fake news" media the "enemy of the American People." Trump frequently refers to news stories he deems unfavorable as "fake news."

Trump's animosity toward the press came to a head on Thursday during a freewheeling news conference, where he railed against journalists for covering his administration critically and dismissed questions about his ties to Russia and the rise in anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S.

He also defended former national security adviser Michael Flynn, calling him "a wonderful man" who was treated "very, very unfairly by the media." Flynn was asked to resign on Monday amid revelations he discussed sanctions with Russia's ambassador and lied to Vice President Pence about the nature of those conversations.

Trump also said at the news conference that if Flynn hadn't discussed sanctions, he would have instructed him to do so, though he claimed he had no part in directing the conversations.

Priebus echoed Trump's position in the CBS interview, arguing that there is "nothing" inappropriate about a national security adviser discussing sanctions with a foreign diplomat, though Flynn's call with the Russian envoy came before Trump took office.

"There's nothing wrong with having a conversation about sanctions," Priebus said. "And there's nothing wrong about having a conversation about the fact that the Obama administration put further sanctions in place and expelled some folks out of the United States."

"There's nothing wrong with that topic coming up in a conversation," he said.

Notice just how the Trump WH is trying to spin the conversations about a quid pro quo deal with lifting of Russian sanctions if Russia remained quiet when Obama tossed out 35 Russian "a normal day to day conversation"...

BUT it was conducted before Trump was every sworn in....and during the Obama Administration.....

AND the lying...dishonest....failing...fake news media creating constantly fake news.......VS an "honest" Trump...really.......

President @realDonaldTrump invents terrorist attack on Sweden. 

Nothing like truly lying in front of a very large rally....who did not care if he lied...that is the strange part....