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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

It was awkward enough when pictures surfaced showing that Trump spent Super Bowl Sunday partying with a woman, Li “Cindy” Yang, who is implicated in a prostitution and human trafficking scandal. Now, it looks like Yang was also selling access to Trump and his inner circle.

Li Yang used to own the “spa” where New England Patriots owner (and Trump pal) Robert Kraft was arrested for solicitation. That spa has been linked to a human trafficking pipeline from China to Florida. Yang sold the spa a few years ago, but there’s evidence she knew sexual services were offered there when she owned the spa.

And Yang isn’t just linked to Trump. She’s partied with both of Trump’s sons and high-level Florida Republicans, like Sen. Rick Scott and Gov. Ron DeSantis.

All of this would be swampy — and sketchy — enough, but Yang was also using her time hobnobbing with the Florida GOP to literally sell access to Trump.

Here’s how it worked. Yang started a consulting and public relations firm that was supposed to help businesses in America get established in the Chinese marketplace. It isn’t clear that she actually did that. But the business was helping Chinese clients connect to United States politicians, and it partially revolved around Mar-a-Lago.

Yang’s now-defunct website advertised “the opportunity to interact with the president” and said the company could arrange for its clients to attend dinner at the White House. It also promised access to New Year’s Eve with the Trump family at Mar-a-Lago, including a chance for the Chinese businesspeople to get their picture with Trump family members.

Yang also arranged for a group of Chinese executives to attend a private fundraiser for Trump in December 2017. Of course, none of those people are allowed to donate money to Trump, because they are foreign nationals. So, either Yang paid the way for multiple people to attend the fundraiser and hobnob with Trump, or the fundraiser took money from Chinese nationals.

Funnily, it doesn’t appear that Yang is all that political. Though she is a registered Republican, before the 2016 election she hadn’t voted in a decade.

Now, though, she’s a common sight at East Coast GOP parties. Mostly, Yang is just pro-Trump. Her purse is rhinestone-encrusted and spells out MAGA. She’s given $42,000 to the Trump Victory PAC and $16,000 directly to Trump’s campaign.

Selling access to the president is precisely the sort of thing Republicans accused Bill and Hillary Clinton of doing. Asserting, baselessly, that Hillary Clinton engaged in pay for play with Clinton Foundation donors was a staple refrain of Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Turns out the people dwelling that deep in this particular swamp are Donald Trump and his cronies.

Published with permission of The American Independent.

IMAGE: Li “Cindy” Yang with Donald Trump.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

Photo by Master Sgt. William Buchanan / U.S. Air National Guard (Public domain)

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

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