President Donald Trump dismissed Wednesday the reports of a Chinese woman allegedly trying to get into his Mar-a-Lago Florida resort recently while carrying a thumb drive containing malware.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump said he hadn’t “spoken to anyone” about federal prosecutors’ claims that a woman with two Chinese passports got past Secret Service agents Saturday. According to the complaint, she said she was trying to attend a canceled event at the president’s Palm Beach, Florida, resort.
Trump insisted that security at his property was under control.
“I saw the story. I haven’t spoken to anyone,” he said. “We have extremely good control.”
“The person at the front desk did a very good job, to be honest with you,” the president added.
Federal prosecutors claim that Yujing Zhang, 32, attempted to gain access inside Mar-a-Lago by telling Secret Service agents she was going to use the pool, then later saying she was attending an event that was not on the club’s schedule.
Following Zhang’s arrest, top Senate Democrats called on the FBI to assess whether Trump’s electronic equipment containing classified information is vulnerable to exploitation, according to The Washington Post.
Though Zhang’s name was not on the member list, a manager at the club thought Zhang was the daughter of a member, and, due to an apparent “language barrier,” allowed her onto the property, according to a criminal complaint.
Once inside, Zhang told a front desk receptionist she was there for an event for the “United Nations Chinese American Association.” Knowing there was no such event, the receptionist denied Zhang further entry.
The complaint claims Zhang had four cellphones, a laptop, an external hard drive and a thumb drive that contained malware.
Trump was not at the club when Zhang entered, but first lady Melania Trump and other members of Trump’s family were, according to NBC News.
According to a Secret Service agent’s account of events, Zhang became “verbally aggressive” after she was told she was trespassing, and she insisted her Chinese friend “Charles” told her to attend the event so she could try to speak to a member of Trump’s family about “foreign economic relations.”
Further interviews with Zhang revealed that she was proficient in reading and speaking English. Zhang was charged with one count of making a false statement to a federal officer and one count of entering a restricted property.
Zhang may have been at Mar-a-Lago to gain access to a canceled event that former Florida spa chain owner Li “Cindy” Yang had been promoting, the Miami Herald reported.
Yang’s spas had been the focus of a high-profile human sex trafficking investigation. Yang also reportedly advertised her ability to get people access to Trump and other political figures.
When a White House reporter on Wednesday asked Trump whether he knew Yang, Trump replied, “Who is that?”
Yang has appeared in photos with Trump, his family and high-ranking members of the Trump administration.
Federal authorities are reportedly investigating a possible Chinese intelligence operation aimed at Trump and Mar-a-Lago, which was ramped up after Zhang’s attempt to enter the resort, according to a Miami Herald report published Wednesday.