Florida spa founder denies wrongdoing

Dems ask FBI to investigate Trump connections

By CNN'S JEREMY HERB, MANU RAJU AND ELI WATKINS CONTRIBUTED TO THIS REPORT.
FreeImages.com/ronald schuster

The former owner of a Florida massage parlor on Wednesday denied any wrongdoing after allegations she had sold access to President Donald Trump to Chinese clients.

In an interview with NBC, Cindy Yang -- the founder and former owner of a chain of Florida massage parlors that was the target of a months-long police sting operation investigating a prostitution and sex trafficking ring -- denied she has done "anything wrong" and said she believes people take issue with her being a "Chinese Republican."

Yang sold her interest in the company years ago and was not affiliated with the chain when it was busted by police last month.

"I don't do anything wrong," Yang said.

Four leading Democrats have called on the FBI to conduct criminal and counterintelligence probes into allegations of foreign lobbying, human trafficking and potential campaign finance violations against Yang. The call for the probe followed a report by the Miami Herald that Yang arranged for a large group of Chinese businesspeople to attend a New York City fundraiser for Trump in 2017 as her guests.

Democrats argue that Yang's alleged actions raise "serious counterintelligence concerns" in a letter addressed to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Secret Service Director Randolph Alles.

Foreign nationals may not donate to US political campaigns, but they are legally allowed to attend fundraisers if their tickets are paid for by US citizens or permanent residents.

The Democrats' letter to the FBI says Yang's website offered clients "the opportunity to interact with the President" and other political leaders. The letter points to public records that say Yang has been a frequent guest of Trump's, including at his Mar-a-Lago estate.

"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," the lawmakers wrote.

The letter was signed by Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff of California, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler of New York.

Yang is connected to the recent high-profile prostitution case involving New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Last month, Kraft was charged with soliciting prostitution at the Florida massage parlor that Yang founded. Kraft has pleaded not guilty.

Copyright 2019 by CNN NewSource. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.