The Slatest

Woman Who Paid Trump $16 Million Cash for Apartment Has Ties to Chinese Military Intelligence

Donald Trump, the Trump Park Avenue, and Angela Chen.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Win McNamee/Getty Images, Alex Proimos/Wikimedia, and Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images.

In late February, Mother Jones broke the news that Donald Trump had sold a $16 million Park Avenue penthouse to a woman named Angela Chen who runs a consulting firm that connects foreign clients with influential people in China. It’s a shady transaction—the president, who sets America’s policy toward China, getting paid millions in cash by a Chinese power broker—and it looks even shadier now that MoJo has documented Chen’s work with, and personal ties to, a Chinese intelligence front group. Here’s the gist:

  • Angela Chen, in addition to her work as a consultant/broker, chairs the United States wing of a nonprofit cultural-exchange group called the China Arts Foundation.
  • The China Arts Foundation was founded by a woman named Deng Rong. Deng Rong’s father, Deng Xiaoping, was a contemporary of Mao’s who succeeded him as the leader of China. Deng Rong is also a vice president of an outreach group called the China Association for International Friendly Contacts, or CAIFC, that has co-hosted events with the China Arts Foundation.
  • The China Association for International Friendly Contacts is widely considered to be a propaganda/intelligence wing of the Chinese army. In fact, individuals in both the Republican National Committee and the State Department have raised concerns about the group’s financial overtures to former U.S. officials—the latter under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when Bill Clinton was considering giving a paid speech at an event co-sponsored by the CAIFC and Angela Chen’s China Arts Foundation. (He apparently decided not to make the speech.)

So, Donald Trump just took $16 million cash from a woman with close ties to a foreign intelligence group that both Republicans and Democrats have suggested is involved in the inappropriate purchase of U.S. influence.