After revelations earlier on Saturday that Li “Cindy” Yang, the founder of a Florida “massage” spa chain now linked to an alleged sex trafficking operation, sold access to Donald Trump for Chinese businessmen, as The Inquisitr reported, one prominent expert on national security warned that the Yang-Trump connection poses a “massive blackmail risk.”
“It is a textbook story of how foreign actors gain leverage over senior officials,” wrote Carnegie Endowment scholar David Rothkopf in The Daily Beast.
The alleged sex-trafficking scandal first gained national attention in late February, when New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was charged with soliciting an act of prostitution from an employee of a “spa” in Jupiter, Florida, as The Inquisitr reported. Kraft was one of 25 men charged with paying for sex at the spa. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Yang, 45, no longer owns the spa and has not been charged in the sex trafficking case. But her connection to the spa chain that was allegedly operating as a front for sex trafficking, together with her political influence-peddling of Chinese business with Trump and other top Republicans, poses a significant national security threat, according to Rothkopf and other experts.
“If the president of the United States is letting a Chinese madam sell access at Mar-a-Lago to Chinese business people while his friends are getting serviced at businesses she started, he is making himself and the country vulnerable to massive blackmail risk,” Rothkopf wrote.
It’s officially time to start a thread with all the Madam Li Yang, founder of Orchids Strip Mall Day Spa and now charged felon pics. Let’s start with POTUS, who signed this one. (Tag me if you have one I should add to the album.)— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) March 8, 2019
I’m calling this one “Sharpie Matches the Dress!” pic.twitter.com/KT1rfCGPoL
“There’s zero chance these Chinese businesses aren’t enmeshed with China’s intelligence services,” wrote conservative commentator Bill Kristol on his Twitter account Saturday.
“It’s a national security problem.”
As seen in the above tweet, Yang was photographed with Trump — as well as other Republicans. She was seated next to Trump at a Super Bowl watch party at Trump’s West Palm Beach county club on February 3, as The Miami Herald reported.
Intelligence and terrorism expert Malcolm Nance also saw a possible connection to a Chinese intelligence operation.
Cindy Yang’s human trafficking operations will eventually end up being a subcontractor for Chinese Intelligence. Trump is the WORSE national security violator since @Snowden. He’s a walking foreign intelligence agency treasure trove. https://t.co/jZoncs6Ztu— Malcolm Nance (@MalcolmNance) March 10, 2019
According to the Herald report, Yang had not even voted in a decade or engaged in any political activities prior to the 2016 presidential election. But starting in 2017 she and her family began donating lavishly to Trump, a total of nearly $60,000 to his campaign and the Trump Victory political action committee. She also attended numerous Republican fundraising events, which required large donations just to get in.
Yang also appears to have been an official in an organization run, according to Economist media editor Gady Epstein, by China’s ruling Communist Party, the Florida Association for the Peaceful Unification of China.
While Yang’s sudden emergence as a player in Trump’s political circle may not be unusual in itself, Rothkopf wrote, there is likely more to the story. “Lurking beneath the surface is the question of blackmail and worse,” the Carnegie scholar wrote.
In addition to her spa business, Yang and her husband also own a company called GY US Investments LLC, according to a Mother Jones report. That company advertised itself as an “international business consulting firm” that offered Chinese business clients “the opportunity to interact with the president.” The site also boasts that it “arranged a number of guests to attend” Trump’s annual New Year’s Eve party at his Florida Mar-a-Lago resort, and posted photos from the event of Chinese business executives with members of Trump’s family.