October 23, 2017

KNOWING YOUR ALLIES:

Trump Nearly Deported a Chinese Dissident -- at a Casino Magnate's Request (Eric Levitz, 10/23/17, New York)

The [Wall Street Journal] reports that casino tycoon Steve Wynn hand-delivered a letter to Trump that was written by the Chinese government. In the missive, Beijing urged the president to extradite Guo Wengui, a Chinese businessman turned vocal critic of corruption in Xi Jinping's government. Guo fled China in 2014 and is currently seeking asylum in the United States. Earlier this year, Chinese officials entered the United States on false pretenses in order to pressure Guo to return home. This effort failed.

But the letter -- and/or Wynn's presentation of it -- temporarily succeeded. Wynn, who also happens to be the Republican National Committee finance chairman, reportedly handed Trump the document at a private dinner. It appears that Wynn didn't just convey Beijing's concerns, but also gave them his tacit endorsement. If so, Trump should've taken it with a grain of salt: The casino magnate owns multiple billion-dollar gambling properties in the Chinese region of Macau. To keep those facilities running, Wynn must get his c[****]no's licenses renewed by Chinese authorities on an annual basis.

But this potential conflict of interest did not seem to trouble Trump. During an Oval Office discussion of the Guo affair in June -- shortly after his dinner with Wynn -- the president reportedly asked his secretary, "Where's the letter that Steve brought?" before telling his top advisers, "We need to get this criminal out of the country."

Those advisers eventually convinced Trump not to deport the Chinese dissident -- in part, by alerting the president to the fact that Guo was a member of his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.

Posted by at October 23, 2017 6:30 PM

  

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