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Wendi Deng Murdoch, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. Photo: Patrick McMullan / Getty Images

In 2017, U.S. counterintelligence officials warned Jared Kushner that Chinese-American businesswoman Wendi Deng Murdoch could be using her close relationship to Kushner and Ivanka Trump to push the Chinese agenda, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: The warning was part of an ongoing effort to alert Kushner of the risks of dealing with people with foreign connections. Murdoch, who kept her married name after divorcing Newscorp CEO Rupert Murdoch in 2013, has been on counterintelligence radars for years. U.S. officials assessed that she was lobbying for a $100 million Chinese garden at the National Arboretum in D.C., which was ultimately deemed a security risk because its 70-foot tower could be used for surveillance.

  • A spokesman for Murdoch said she “has no knowledge of any FBI concerns or other intelligence agency concerns relating to her or her associations,” and that she “has absolutely no knowledge of any garden projects funded by the Chinese government.”
  • A representative for Kushner and Ivanka described the warning as a “routine senior staff security briefing” and added that Kushner “has complied with all ethics and disclosure recommendations and has played a helpful role in strengthening the U.S.-China relationship so as to help bring about a better resolution to the many issues the countries have.”

Go deeper

Thousands of trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Axios AM Deep Dive: America’s murder surge

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Homicides rose at the fastest rate in at least six decades last year. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by Future correspondent Bryan Walsh, looks at the state of gun crime.