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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

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Kaine, Collins pitch Senate colleagues on censuring Trump

Sen. Tim Kaine speaks with Sen. Susan Collins. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine and Susan Collins are privately pitching their colleagues on a bipartisan resolution censuring former President Trump, three sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction in his second impeachment.