March 10, 2019

It's becoming tiresome to evoke this thought exercise, but I want again to imagine how many brains over at Fox News would have exploded if they came upon a picture of President Obama and an alleged sex trafficker/massage parlor owner. Especially one who was just linked to a major supporter/donor's arrest for prostitution.

Pretty sordid stuff that would have had their entire prime time lineup salivating for weeks. But when it happens to Donald Trump? Barely a shrug. In fact, all of the mainstream media have become so inured to the multiple-scandals-a-day-administration, that this is hardly registering at all.

But the story is much much worse than just a skeevy Republican donor getting pictures taken with the movers and shakers of the GOP.

It turns out that Cindy Yang was also using her connections at Mar-A-Lago to sell access to Donald Trump to Chinese executives, as David Corn at Mother Jones uncovered:

Yang, who goes by Cindy, and her husband, Zubin Gong, started GY US Investments LLC in 2017. The company describes itself on its website, which is mostly in Chinese, as an “international business consulting firm that provides public relations services to assist businesses in America to establish and expand their brand image in the modern Chinese marketplace.” But the firm notes that its services also address clients looking to make high-level connections in the United States. On a page displaying a photo of Mar-a-Lago, Yang’s company says its “activities for clients” have included providing them “the opportunity to interact with the president, the [American] Minister of Commerce and other political figures.” The company boasts it has “arranged taking photos with the President” and suggests it can set up a “White House and Capitol Hill Dinner.” (The same day the Herald story about Yang broke, the website stopped functioning.)

The short bio of Yang on the website, identifying her as the founder and CEO of GY US Investments, shows her in a photo with Trump bearing his signature. It says she has been “settled in the United States for more than 20 years” and is a member of the “Presidential Fundraising Committee.” According to the Herald, Yang is a registered Republican, and since 2017 she and her relatives have donated more than $42,000 to a Trump political action committee and more than $16,000 to Trump’s campaign. Her Facebook page, which was taken offline on Friday, was loaded with photos of her posing with GOP notables: Donald Trump Jr., Rep. Matt Gaetz or Florida, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, among others.

The GY US Investments website lists upcoming events at Mar-a-Lago at which Yang’s clients presumably can mingle with Trump or members of his family. This includes something called the International Leaders Elite Forum, where Trump’s sister, Elizabeth Trump Grau, will supposedly be the featured speaker.

There are potentially several problems here. First and foremost, let's all remember that Donald Trump is the least discreet person on the planet and there have been several incidents already where he's babbled intelligence, compromising national security and our intelligence cooperation with other allies. Who knows what he's blurting out to these Chinese people, purportedly executives, but just as easily spies undercover? Can you say "national security violations"??? Politico can.

President Donald Trump relishes the comforts of his Mar-a-Lago estate for repeated weekends away from Washington, but former Secret Service and intelligence officials say the resort is a security nightmare vulnerable to both casual and professional spies.

And then there's that funny little news item that Ivanka had taken out trademarks in China, while working as a advisor to her daddy. Given that the entire Trump family has take the position that the Executive Branch is a venue upon which to extend their constant grifts, how possible is it that they've knowingly encouraged Yang's venture because they're hoping that they can personally profit from it?

Given their track record, I'd say it's pretty high.

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