“The Massage Parlor Owner Peddling Access to Trump Has Ties to Chinese Government-Linked Groups”

Mother Jones:

Li Yang, the Florida massage parlor entrepreneur who created and operated a business that sold Chinese business executives access to President Donald Trump and his family at Mar-a-Lago, has yet another intriguing line of work. She is an officer of two groups with ties to China’s Communist government. And she founded a Miami-based nonprofit that promotes “economic and cultural exchange” between China and the West in coordination with “senior…Chinese leaders” in the United States, according to a profile of Yang posted on a Chinese social media platform.

After Mother Jones on Saturday revealed that Yang, who goes by Cindy, had been peddling entrée to the Trump family, the Trump White House, and assorted GOP powerbrokers, national security experts noted that this situation could pose a threat, presenting opportunities for espionage or blackmail targeting the president and his inner circle. They expressed concern the Yang’s efforts to broker interactions with Trump and his clan could be exploited by Chinese intelligence. “Guess who else has 100% known about this from the beginning?” tweeted Susan Hennessey, a Brookings Institution fellow who previously worked as a National Security Agency lawyer. “Chinese intelligence services.” Samantha Vinograd, a CNN national security analyst who worked for the National Security Council during the Obama administration, noted: “Our intel community has said China poses one of the most significant counterintelligence challenges—my money is on the Chinese Govt having at least picked up on [Yang’s] access if they didn’t direct it.”

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