The FBI is examining whether a Chinese woman who bluffed her way into President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort last weekend had any links to Chinese intelligence or political influence operations, two USA government sources said on Thursday.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday dismissed a recent alleged breach of his Mar-a-Lago property, saying he was "not concerned" about the incident. She buttressed these claims with photos of her and the U.S. president at a party on her website.
The White House declined to comment on the FBI's counter-intelligence investigation or related questions, and referred questions to the Secret Service, which had no immediate comment. The ongoing federal investigation got a punch in the arm when Secret Service agents arrested Yujing Zhang, a Chinese woman, who tried to enter the club carrying carrying two Chinese passports, a thumb drive with malware on it, four cellphones, a laptop and a hard drive. She is being held in custody pending a court hearing next week.
Secret Service has done a fantastic job from day one, says Donald Trump.
The woman was arrested over the weekend after she told conflicting stories about why she was at Mar-a-Lago.
Later, when questioned by another Secret Service officer, she said she was due to attend a "United Nations Friendship Event", though further inquiries revealed that there was no such event scheduled to take place at Mar-a-Lago, an affidavit filed by federal investigators for the Southern District Court of Florida said.
"No swimming apparel was found in Zhang's possession or on her person", it said.
In a later interview with authorities off of Mar-a-Lago property, Zhang "freely and without difficulty conversed.in the English language", the agent wrote.
"We have very good control".
Democrats in Congress last month called on the FBI to investigate Cindy Yang's activities, amid concerns that she could pose a national security threat. "I haven't spoken to anyone", he told reporters at the White House.
In a letter on Wednesday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff requested a briefing on the Zhang arrest from the heads of the FBI, Secret Service and Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
In recent years she has promoted herself as a path of access to the USA president, and Yang's website featured pictures of her with Trump, his family and officials.