Oct 24, 2017

Trump, the FBI and an exiled Chinese businessman

Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping at Mar a Lago. Photo: Alex Brandon / AP

President Trump once raised the idea of turning a wealthy Chinese businessman living in exile in New York over to the Chinese government, the Wall Street Journal reports in a story the newspaper justifiably calls "worthy of a spy thriller."

  • The lead character: Guo Wengui, who made a fortune in real estate before fleeing China in 2014 and gaining a large following by making allegations of corruption against Chinese officials on Twitter.
  • The climactic scene: Chinese security agents reportedly visit Guo's apartment to pressure him to return to China, in violation of their visas and after being warned by the FBI. FBI agents plan to intercept and arrest them later that day at JFK airport but no decision comes from the State Dept. in time and they are allowed to board a plane back to China.
  • The twist: Trump, having received a letter from the Chinese government directly from the hand of casino magnate Steve Wynn, says in a meeting that includes Pence, Kushner and Bannon, "We need to get this criminal out of the country," referring to Guo (the Chinese government has raised various criminal allegations against Guo). The Journal notes that Wynn needs a license from the Chinese government to operate his casinos in Macau.
  • The resolution: Aides steered Trump away from the topic, while "noting Mr. Guo is a member of the president's Mar-a-Lago club."

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 786,291 — Total deaths: 37,820 — Total recoveries: 166,088.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 164,620 — Total deaths: 3,170— Total recoveries: 5,943.
  3. Federal government latest: The White House will extend its social distancing guidelines until April 30.
  4. State updates: Rural-state governors say testing is still inadequate, contradicting Trump — Virginia, Maryland and D.C. issue stay-at-home orders to residents, joining 28 other states.
  5. Business latest: Ford and General Electric aim to make 50,000 ventilators in 100 days.
  6. In photos: Navy hospital ship arrives in Manhattan.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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World coronavirus updates: World Bank warns economic pain unavoidable

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus has caused a "global shock" and significant economic pain "seems unavoidable in all countries," the World Bank said in an economic update for
East Asia and the Pacific on Monday.

The big picture: COVID-19 cases surged past 786,000 and the death toll exceeded 37,800 early Tuesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy reported more than 11,500 deaths.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll tops 3,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. death toll from the novel coronavirus surpassed 3,000 late Monday.

The state of play: There were more than 164,000 confirmed cases in the U.S. early Tuesday — more than any other country in the world, per Johns Hopkins data. The COVID-19 death toll stood at 3,170. The number of recoveries had risen to more than 5,900.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 6 hours ago - Health