It is not believed that Russia is as sophisticated as China, as President Trump's obvious affinity to President Vladimir V. Putin, as a former official said.
China's efforts are a 21st-century version of what civil servants are doing. There are many decades when American leaders are trying to influence an informal network of prominent business people and academics who sell ideas and policies and then be carried to the White House. The difference now is that by listening to Mr. Trump's phone calls, China has a much clearer idea of who has the biggest impact on the president and what arguments tend to work.
Trump friends like Mr. Schwarzman who featured prominently at the first meeting between President Xi Jinping of China and Mr. Trump in Mar-a-Lago, the resort's president in Florida, are already pro-China and professional -trade views, and are thus ideal targets in Chinese officials said the officials said the speech of Mr. Schwarzman's and Mr. Wynn's friends may reinforce their views, the officials said, "The friends are also the most accessible."
One official said that the Chinese were on the back burner Friends urged to persuade Mr. Trump to sit with Mr. Xi as often as possible, and the Chinese, the official said, correctly realize that Mr. Trump attaches great importance to personal relationships, and that one-to-one conversations w generate more frequent breakthroughs than regular contacts between Chinese and American officials.
Whether the Friends Can Stop Mr. Trump, who is conducting a trade war with China, is another matter.
Officials said the president had two official iPhones that were modified by the National Security Agency to limit their abilities – and vulnerabilities – and a third personal phone, which is no different than hundreds of millions of iPhones across the board World are in use. Mr. Trump holds the personal phone, White House officials said, because unlike his other two phones, he can store his contacts in it.