The former owner of a Florida spa named in a human trafficking investigation refuted reports about selling access to President Donald Trump in her first interview.
Speaking Wednesday night on “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt,” Li “Cindy” Yang defended herself two days after Democratic leaders released a letter requesting the FBI start counterintelligence and criminal investigations.
Yang told the network she believes her ethnicity and political preference sparked allegations of her working as a spy.
“I’m Republican and I’m Chinese,” Yang said. “That’s the reason the Democrats want to check me.”
After authorities charged New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and 24 other men with soliciting prostitution at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida, Yang came under scrutiny.
Refresher: Who is Cindy Yang and how is she connected to Trump and the spa where Patriots owner was charged?
What went down: How Florida police snared nearly 300 — including Robert Kraft — at spas used for sex trafficking
Yang told NBC she sold the business about seven years ago, but she also runs a consulting business that, according to its website, offers to sell Chinese clients access to Trump. GY US Investments LLC describes itself as a firm that helps American businesses “expand their brand image in the modern Chinese marketplace.”
In February, Yang posted a widely-circulated Facebook selfie with the president at a Super Bowl party at the Trump International Gold resort in Florida.
“I love Americans,” Yang told NBC, adding that she immigrated in 1999 and is now a U.S. citizen. “I love our president. I don’t do anything wrong.”
While living in the states, Yang said she has not had any contact with members of the Chinese government.
Democrats on the House and Senate intelligence and Judiciary committees requested the FBI investigate Yang in a letter dated March 15. They wrote that her business could allow adversary governments to gather blackmail material on politicians.
Frank Figliuzzi, a former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence, told NBC that someone like Yang probably came up on Chinese intelligence services’ radar. Her proximity to power, Figliuzzi said, could mean she was an unwitting agent of the Chinese government.
Yang denied those allegations on the show, saying she attended events at Mar-a-Lago to be social and donate to charity.
As for the salon, Yang told NBC she is not involved in it and no prostitution took place while she owned it.
“I sold to her in 2012 or 2013,” Yang said. “How they do their business has nothing to do with me.”