Counterintelligence officials warned Jared Kushner in early 2017 that Wendi Deng Murdoch might use her friendship with him and his wife, Ivanka Trump, to help China, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The report said officials were concerned that Murdoch, a Chinese-American businesswoman and a US citizen, might seek to help the Chinese government and was lobbying for a $100 million China-funded garden project at the National Arboretum in Washington. The report also noted such warnings are not unusual and that this one was meant to make sure Kushner knew to be aware of people promoting interests at odds with the US.
A spokesman for Murdoch told the Journal that she “has no knowledge of any FBI concerns or other intelligence agency concerns relating to her or her associations” and no knowledge of Chinese government-funded garden projects.
At a regular Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs briefing Tuesday, a spokesman did not answer a question about Deng, only saying “certain people in the US should stop creating problems when none exists.”
The Journal said a representative for Kushner and Ivanka Trump – White House advisers who are the President’s son-in-law and daughter – described the interaction with the officials as a “routine senior staff security briefing,” and that none of the people mentioned have been accused of wrongdoing.
Murdoch is the former wife of conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch, both of whom have ties to the Trumps. Rupert Murdoch is the executive chairman of News Corp., which owns the Wall Street Journal.
Steven Jiang contributed reporting from Beijing.