Sam Patten, the latest former Trump associate to fall into the spiked pit of the Special Counsel investigation, is back in the news. Back in August, Patten pleaded guilty to illegally lobbying for “Opposition Bloc,” a Ukrainian political party that was the predecessor to the “Party of Regions” — the unit that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort illegally lobbied for. But Patten almost immediately entered into a cooperation agreement, and unlike Manafort, he doesn’t appear to have broken it.
That’s why it was big news on New Year’s Eve when prosecutors finally filed a “Joint Status Report” in the US District Court in DC — a document detailing how much and in what context Patten has been cooperating — and they did it under seal, meaning they want to keep what Patten told them to themselves for now.
That’s perhaps frustrating but remember: If Bob Mueller doesn’t want to give something away yet, it’s because a witness can still be of further use so long as the people they’re implicating are in the dark about it. That’s what caused the massive meltdown from Donald Trump when he and his legal team found out just how much Michael Cohen had told the authorities.
What we do know, however, is two very important things that Robert Mueller — maybe inadvertently, maybe not — connected for us through confirmations. First, that Patten illegally transferred foreign money to the Trump Inaugural Committee, by using straw purchasers and buying access for Konstantin Kilimnik — a name you remember from when he was indicted alongside Manafort for witness tampering last June.
Secondly, you know from the infamous ProPublica report that came out just weeks ago that Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, unethically paid a self-negotiated amount to the Trump Organization for services during the inauguration, using Inaugural Committee funds.
Unethical, yes, but was it illegal?
That could very well be, depending on what’s in that sealed Joint Status Report on Sam Patten. On its face, it certainly looks illegal: One guy funnels foreign cash into Trump Inaugural Committee, Ivanka funnels it out to the Trump Organization, BOOM! You’ve got freshly-laundered foreign cash going straight to Donald Trump during the presidential transition. Remember, this isn’t during the campaign or anything — this is after Trump was elected.
A payment, if you will. And Trump will, we reckon.
Featured image via screen capture