The Chinese national who was convicted last week of lying in order to gain access into Mar-a-Lago was apparently more interested in President Trump’s real estate holdings than his political life, according to a string of text messages released on Thursday.
In the translated messages that 33-year-old wealthy investment counselor Yujing Zhang sent to her travel agent before Secret Service agents arrested her last March, she writes:
“I was thinking that since Trump himself was in real estate business so that perhaps we could have something to talk about,” Zhang wrote to Chinese travel agent Charles Lee, who organized her trip.
She adds, “In terms of politics … it’s not like that I really .. really understand much of the struggling relationships among the political dignitaries. We don’t get involved in election or political relations. I — I personally don’t want to get involved in — involved in this situation. Get it?”
Lee assures Zhang that there could be other opportunities to go to an event attended by Trump, adding that the event she wanted to attend was cancelled just after Special Counsel Robert Mueller sent his report on the Russia investigation to Attorney General William Barr. Lee explains, “But the Trump’s event is cancelled for the time being, mainly because of the Russian investigation. The investigation report says Trump did not involve. Trump now is about to punish and take revenge on those who wrongly accused him, including the media. So, his events are temporarily put on hold for the time being. If there are other events that we can go, that .. I will let you know. I will make arrangements. No worries. But this is none right no, none right now. Huh.”
Zhang responds only when Lee asks if she is more interested in real estate forums. To that, Zhang writes back: “Right. Right Right.”
Other evidence that was also filed in court records on Thursday includes a copy of the travel agreement between Lee and Zhang. The $20,000 package was to include round-trip airfare from Shanghai to the U.S. for seven days, with stops in Palm Beach, Washington, D.C.. and New York City. Zhang was supposed to visit the White House and Capitol Hill in Washington, in addition to Wall Street, the Statue of Liberty, the World Trade Center and the U.S. Stock Exchange in New York.
She would also receive an “Honorary Diploma in Peace,” from the United Nations China, which is identified as a nonprofit organization. She was also supposed to receive a “U.S.-China Friendship Missionary Honorary Certificate,” to be issued by President Trump’s Committee for Economic Cooperation and Development, according to the travel contract.
That contract was part of the Chinese government’s “Belt and Road Initiatives” and “Go Global” attempts to promote China’s role in international infrastructure development and investment.
Zhang also writes to Lee, “Let’s say, after the White House tour, can you organize something like meeting with the legislators on that day, for example. Er, … some Congresspeople .. . or the Congress,” she wrote. “Have a chat with some of them, or watch their … or watch their section, something like that. Can you organize an activity like that?”
However, she was not interested in Lee’s suggestion to attend an event in Detroit featuring former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Instead, Zhang told Lee to cancel the trip, opting to pay $2,000 for a plane ticket and booking a room at the Red Roof Inn for one night, followed by a stay at the Colony Hotel on Palm Beach.
When she appeared at Mar-a-Lago on March 30, Zhang claimed she was attending a “United Nations Friendship Event” between China and the U.S., according to federal agents. However, no such event was scheduled.
Since her arrest, Zhang has been held at the Broward County jail. She represented herself at her three-day trial, and is scheduled to be sentenced on November 22, on charges of lying to a federal agent and gaining access to a restricted building. If convicted, she faces up to six years in prison.