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March 11, 2019

Li (Cindy) Yang, a Florida Chinese-American entrepreneur who founded (then sold) the massage parlor where Patriots owner Robert Kraft was allegedly caught paying for sex, didn't just watch the Super Bowl with President Trump last month. She also started a consulting business in 2017 offering Chinese business executives access to Trump, including at his private Mar-a-Lago club, Mother Jones reported Saturday. On Sunday, Mother Jones said Yang is also an officer in local chapters of two clubs with ties to China's Communist government.

The website for Yang's business, GY US Investments LLC, went offline Friday after the Miami Herald reported Yang's ties to Trump, as did her Facebook page with photos of her posing with Trump, Trump family members, Cabinet secretaries, and other boldface Republican politicians. But an archived version of GY's site offered "the opportunity to interact with the president, the [American] Minister of Commerce, and other political figures," at Mar-a-Lago and in Washington. "If the posted photos are authentic, she has been able to get Chinese clients at least into the Trump circle for a quick pic," Mother Jones says.

"It remains unclear how much Li Yang charged for the services and whether she was ever hired to provide them," The Associated Press cautions, but "patrons attending a Republican National Committee dinner at Mar-a-Lago last year noticed a large contingent of Chinese attendees."

Selling Chinese business executives access to the president of the United States at his private club and other venues raises serious ethical, campaign finance, and national security concerns. And Yang, who emigrated from China about 20 years ago, showed no demonstrable interest in politics until the 2016 election, when she and her family began donating more than $58,000 to a pro-Trump PAC and Trump's campaign.

The White House declined to comment on Yang's business. Yang told the Herald "she and her family have never broken the law, but did not answer questions about whether she knew of the allegations that therapists in her spas were offering sex. She added that she was out of the business, would soon be moving to Washington, D.C., and didn't want any negative press." Peter Weber

2:04 p.m.

Nearly everyone wants Attorney General William Barr to release the entire report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russian election interference. It's fair to count Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) among those ranks. Sort of.

He did, after all, contribute to a nearly-unanimous House vote in favor of releasing the full report. And when the congressman called into Sunday's edition of Fox & Friends, he admitted to Fox's Katie Pavlich, per Mediaite, that President Trump should, indeed, declassify everything in the report.

Nunes just doesn't really care what it says.

He said that he wants to do away with what he considers a "partisan" investigation altogether. In fact, he wants to burn it. Watch the clip below. Tim O'Donnell

Tim O'Donnell

1:18 p.m.

Everyone on both sides of the aisle, it seems, agrees that they want Attorney General William Barr to release Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russian election interference in 2016 in full. But reasons may differ, if ever so slightly.

For example, House Judiciary Chair Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said during a Sunday appearance on CNN's State of the Union with Dana Bash that it is crucial the report is released. Nadler told Bash that one of the key questions his committee wants to answer is why Mueller did not recommend any further indictments. "We know there was some collusion," he said.

Nadler confirmed that House Democrats are prepared to take their demand to access the entirety of the report to the Supreme Court. He also believes there have been obstructions of justice throughout the process — though he did say he is unsure if those obstructions are criminal.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.), meanwhile, told Chuck Todd on NBC's Meet the Press that he, too, wanted to view the full report. But he was more interested in the probe's "underlying criminal predicate" — particularly how the investigation was conducted in its nascent stages under the Obama Administration, as opposed to the lack of indictments.

The senator also wanted to understand the reasons behind the investigation's FISA applications, which he considers an "extraordinary use of government surveillance power."

Barr is expected to brief Congress on the Mueller investigation's principle conclusions in the coming days, possibly as soon as Sunday. Tim O'Donnell

12:00 p.m.

Evacuees from a cruise ship had some harrowing tales after being brought to safety on Sunday.

479 people were safely airlifted off the Viking Sky cruise, which was stranded in rough seas off the coast of Norway with 1,373 passengers on board. 436 guests and 458 crew still remained on board the ship. But they're safe now, as well. CNN reported that the ship docked on Sunday at a quay in a harbor in western Norway, where relieved passengers exclaimed in jubilation.

Although bad weather conditions persisted on Sunday, the vessel regained power in three out of four engines and was traveling alongside two supply ships and one tug assist vessel.

20 people reportedly sustained non-life threatening injuries while the ship was rocked by wind and waves, the cruise line said. Passengers were able to document the situation, sending footage via social media.

"It was surreal," passenger Deborah Kellet told NBC News. "It was like what you see in the movies." Tim O'Donnell

11:42 a.m.

As lawmakers were bracing themselves for Attorney General William Barr to reveal the principle conclusions of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russian election interference in 2016, President Trump reportedly had quite a calm weekend. He barely even tweeted.

CNN reported that Trump was enjoying time at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida with First Lady Melania Trump and their son, Barron. He was on a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussing trade and Brexit when news that Mueller had handed over his investigation to Barr became official.

Per CNN, Trump and the aides who traveled with him to Florida were relieved that the investigation had reached its conclusion and viewed the fact that Mueller did not recommend any further indictments as a cause for celebration, which lines up with earlier reports that the White House is feeling confident that the investigation will clear Trump legally. The president was reportedly in good spirits on Friday evening at dinner and on Saturday took to the golf course with singer Kid Rock.

So much for stress. Read the full report at CNN. Tim O'Donnell

10:57 a.m.

The Muslim community in Christchurch, New Zealand has reclaimed a place of worship. On Saturday, the restored Al-Noor mosque, one of the sites of the mass shootings that killed 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15, was reopened.

It remains under heavy police detail, but small groups of worshippers are now allowed in for limited periods of time, reports RNZ National. Although the mosque has been completely restored following the damage, those who enter have been asked to refrain from taking photographs. Several survivors of the shootings, carried about by a 28-year-old Australian named Brenton Tarrant who expressed racist, anti-immigrant views, were among the first people to return to the mosque.

On Saturday, nearly 40,000 people turned out for a vigil in Christchurch on Saturday evening, as the country continues to mourn the attacks. Saturday’s vigil, which included speeches, music, and moments of silence, is the latest in a string of remembrance events that have and will continue to take place around New Zealand. Tim O'Donnell

8:22 a.m.

Protests took place in Pittsburgh on Saturday after a jury acquitted a former East Pittsburgh police officer who was tried for the killing of Antwon Rose, an unarmed black 17-year-old, last June.

The officer, Michael Rosfield, who is white, shot Rose three times after the teenager ran from a traffic stop. Rosfield said that Rose was in a car that matched the description of one involved in a drive-by shooting 20 minutes prior to the traffic stop. Another person in the vehicle, 18-year-old Zaijuan Hester, pleaded guilty last week to the drive-by shooting. He said that he, not Rose, fired the shots.

Crowds gathered in protest over the jury's decision outside of the Allegheny County Courthouse on Friday evening and continued throughout the city on Saturday. Shots were reportedly fired at the window of one of Rosfield's attorney's offices on Saturday morning in what was an apparent retaliation. No one was hurt. But Rose's father urged people to refrain from violence, and Pittsburgh police described the protests as peaceful. Tim O'Donnell

7:47 a.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said earlier this week that she did not believe the British people supported a second Brexit referendum. A massive anti-Brexit demonstration held in London on Saturday poked some holes in that theory.

The Guardian reports that the protest's organizers estimate that 1 million people took to the streets for the "Put it to the People" march, which demanded that Parliament grant a second EU withdrawal referendum. It is being considered one of the biggest protests in British history, per BBC, although specific attendance numbers have not been confirmed. Protesters carried EU flags and donned blue and yellow garb to signify their support for remaining in the Union.

The march took place just days after the EU agreed to an extension of Article 50, which will now trigger the U.K.'s exodus from the EU on April 12 — with or without a deal. May, who has so far been unable to secure a withdrawal agreement, has faced renewed calls for her resignation. Tim O'Donnell

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