Trump is 'not concerned' about Chinese espionage at Mar-a-Lago

Saul Bowman
April 7, 2019

President Donald Trump's frequent use of his Mar-a-Lago Club, the access granted to the Palm Beach resort's members and guests, and the president's sometimes freewheeling style are raising questions about national security vulnerabilities and the prospects of Chinese espionage.

Zhang was allegedly told by a Chinese friend to travel from Shanghai to Florida in hopes to "make contact with a member of Trump's family", which comes on the heels of a separate Chinese woman and Mar-a-Lago member who reportedly charged Chinese business executives for access to Trump and his family.

National security concerns flared anew because a Chinese woman was found Saturday on the Mar-a-Lago grounds with a thumb drive containing malware that potentially could have affected computer systems. "I'm not concerned at all".

During the hearing, Zhang said through an interpreter that she had been in the USA with her family for only a short time "so we're not familiar with the laws and also with which attorneys are good".

While there was no such event planned, the Post reported a Chinese entrepreneur named Charles Li, with a group called the United Nations Chinese Friendship Association, has sold package tours that included tickets to events at Mar-a-Lago.

The alleged breach underscored wide-ranging security concerns about the President's Florida club, which has been scrutinized for not having the tight security protocols at the actual White House or the retreats frequently used by past presidents.

Secret Service has done a fantastic job from day one, says Donald Trump.

"Thus Zhang could not have any legitimate documentation authorizing her entry to Mar-a-Lago for such a objective", the court document cited Agent Samuel Ivanovich as saying. Now, even as president, Trump's decision to spend so much of his time at his private club is opening up new avenues of influence for foreign intelligence agencies to exploit.

Agent Samuel Ivanovich wrote in court documents that Zhang told him that she was there for a Chinese American event and had come early to familiarize herself with the club and take photos, contradicting what she had said at the checkpoint.

The unique nature of Trump conducting official business at the semi-public location - rather than the White House or retreats favored by previous presidents - was of worldwide significance just days into his time on job, when he and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe could be seen responding in real time to a North Korean missile launch.

Trump said Tuesday he's waiting for more information about the incident.

"The end result, it was good", Trump noted while adding, "I think probably we'll see what happened, where she's from, who she is, but the result is they were able to get her, and she is now suffering the consequences of whatever it is she had in mind".

Democrats said Wednesday they want the Federal Bureau of Investigation to probe whether the club is vulnerable, yet Mr. Trump brushed it off.

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