High-ranking Democrats on Capitol Hill are calling for a counterintelligence investigation into a woman who has peddled access to President Trump and who founded the massage parlor where New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is accused of soliciting sex.
Li "Cindy" Yang has been the subject of a number of reports in recent weeks, notably in The New York Times and the Miami Herald, which have detailed how she created a business that advertised "entry to events, including White House visits, 'VIP activities at Mar-a-Lago' and Warren Buffett's annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway shareholders," according to The Times.
She was photographed in February with Trump at a Super Bowl party that Kraft also attended, according to the Herald. And she also reportedly arranged for a group of Chinese business executives to attend a paid fundraiser for the president in late 2017.
"If true, these allegations raise serious counterintelligence concerns," wrote the highest-ranking Democrats on the intelligence and judiciary committees in both the House and the Senate in a letter dated Friday.
The letter, addressed to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Secret Service Director Randolph Alles, contains questions about a number of aspects of Yang's reported activities.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., released on Monday a statement in which they too said they support an investigation.
Yang founded the Orchids of Asia Day Spa, where Kraft is accused of visiting and soliciting prostitution twice — an accusation Kraft has called "totally false." Yang told the Herald that she sold it long before the scandal involving the New England Patriots' owner.
Democrats want to know the extent to which Yang or her businesses have been investigated by the FBI or state authorities for human trafficking or other violations of the law.
They also want a counterintelligence investigation into the extent that Yang or her clients interacted with Trump, Vice President Pence or other senior White House officials and whether those alleged interactions broke laws that govern international lobbying in the United States.
Yang met a number of high-level Republicans over the past year, according to the Herald:
"In 2018, she attended a Safari Night at Mar-a-Lago hosted by the president's sister, Elizabeth Trump Grau, as well as the White House's celebration of the Lunar New Year at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. She took photos with Florida's soon-to-be-governor, Ron DeSantis, at a pro-Israel gala held at Mar-a-Lago, met U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao in Washington, D.C., and posed with Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, U.S. Rep Matt Gaetz and former Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. She also posted a photograph of herself with DeSantis at a restaurant, saying she was having 'brunch this morning with Florida's next Governor.'
"She was photographed with Donald Trump Jr. at a winter Mar-a-Lago gala for Turning Points USA, the conservative college organization, and met Eric Trump last month."
No one Yang says she met with, or was photographed with, told the Herald that they remembered meeting her.
"Although Ms. Yang's activities may only be those of an unscrupulous actor allegedly selling access to politicians for profit, her activities also could permit adversary governments or their agents access to these same politicians to acquire potential material for blackmail or other even more nefarious purposes," wrote the Democrats.
They are also interested in probing whether Yang or any of her clients illegally contributed to campaigns in an effort to gain access to politicians.
A previous version of this story misspelled Secret Service Director Randolph Alles' first name as Randoph.