A former massage parlor owner who reportedly arranged in a separate business access for clients to President Donald Trump should be investigated as a potential counterintelligence threat, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday.
The Democratic leaders endorsed the probe into Li “Cindy” Yang following a similar call by senior Democrats on the House and Senate Intelligence Committee and the House and Senate Judiciary Committee. Congressional Democrats say Yang’s access to Trump and other government officials could be exploited by foreign governments seeking to blackmail U.S. figures.
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“The facts in this situation are very concerning, and we urge [FBI] Director Wray to adhere to the joint bicameral requests of the Democratic Senate ranking members and Democratic House chairmen and start an investigation,” the Democratic leaders said in a statement.
Yang founded a massage parlor chain in south Florida that became the focus of a human trafficking and prostitution probe, but Yang was not charged or implicated in connection with the investigation.
Her attorney previously told ABC News that Yang never tried to sell access to the president.
The committee Democrats said Yang is reportedly a frequent guest at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and recently appeared in a photo with Trump at a Super Bowl watch party. Yang’s now-defunct website for her business “GY US Investments” offered clients access to the president and other senior government officials, and reports of her activities indicated she helped steward a group of Chinese business executives to a Trump fundraiser.
“If true, these allegations raise serious counterintelligence concerns,” the committee Democrats wrote in a letter to Wray, national intelligence director Dan Coats and Secret Service Director Randolph Alles.
The Democrats are seeking answers from U.S. intelligence officials about their awareness of Yang’s relationship with the president and whether other Mar-a-Lago members might be exploiting their proximity to Trump for nefarious ends. They also want to know whether Trump or his campaign took any steps to prevent illegal foreign donations from being funneled to his campaign through straw donors.
The Democrats are seeking a response to their inquiries by March 21.