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The Mar-a-Lago estate. Photo: Saul Martinez/Getty Images

A Chinese woman carrying 4 cellphones, a laptop, an external hard drive and a USB stick laced with malware was charged with illegally entering President Trump's Mar-a-lago club in Florida this weekend and lying to federal agents about why she was there.

Details: The affidavit states that Yujing Zhang spoke broken English, but indicated to Secret Service agents and Mar-a-lago security that she was a relative of a member of the club and wanted to visit the pool to swim. Inside, she told a front desk receptionist that she was there for a "United Nations Friendship Event" between China and the U.S. — an event the receptionist knew did not exist.

  • The receptionist called Secret Service, who said Zhang spoke to agents in English without difficulty before becoming "verbally aggressive."
  • After being detained, Zhang told agents that her Chinese friend "Charles" had told her to travel from Shanghai to Palm Beach, Florida, to attend the event and speak to a member of Trump's family about Chinese and American foreign economic relations.
  • Zhang has a hearing scheduled for next week.

The big picture: The Miami Herald is reporting that Zhang may have been referring to an event promoted by Cindy Yang, the former owner of the massage parlor where New England Patriots Robert Kraft was charged with soliciting prostitution. Yang, a frequent guest of Mar-a-lago, is believed to have been selling access to President Trump and his family to clients in China.

What he's saying: Trump told reporters Wednesday he had seen the story, but he said he hadn’t spoken to anyone. We have extremely good control," he said. "The person at the front desk did a very good job, to be honest with you."

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Alabama's new congressional map rejected by federal judges

The Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery. Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Federal judges on Monday night blocked Alabama's newly drawn congressional map and ordered the Republican-led State Legislature to create a new one that includes two districts, rather than the planned one.

Why it matters: "Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress," the panel of three judges wrote in their ruling.

Australian Open organizers reverse "Where is Peng Shuai?" t-shirt ban

Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai during the 2020 Australian Open in Melbourne. Photo: Bai Xue/Xinhua via Getty Images

Australian Open organizers on Tuesday reversed a ban on t-shirts supporting Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai following widespread criticism.

Why it matters: Tennis Australia's announcement came less than 24 hours after the governing body defended the decision to ask fans last Friday to remove "Where is Peng Shuai?" t-shirts, citing ticket policy prohibiting political clothing, per the BBC.