Death of McConnell sister-in-law Elaine Chao is now a ‘criminal investigation’

by WorldTribune Staff, March 3, 2024

The death of Angela Chao, sister-in-law of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and a former board member of the state-owned Bank of China, is being re-examined as a “criminal investigation,” as stated by the Blanco County Sheriff’s Office in Texas.

Angela Chao

Chao, 50, chief executive of a major shipping company, died at a ranch in Blanco County, Texas on Feb. 11 after her Tesla became submerged in a pond.

Seventeen days later, on Feb. 28, 2024, McConnell cited the tragic death when announcing that he would step down as Senate Republican leader in November.

Initially deemed an accident by local authorities, the investigation took a significant turn with the sheriff’s office hinting at potential criminal aspects of the case. In a communication to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the office emphasized the atypical nature of the incident, underscoring the ongoing scrutiny to “rule out criminal activity.”

Some had found Chao’s death “suspicious” from the start.

Related: Texas death of Mitch McConnell’s sister-in-law called ‘suspicious’, February 15, 2024

“Angela Chao’s death at a private Texas ranch in Blanco, County is suspicious,” Kyle Bass, chief investment officer at the Texas-based asset management firm Hayman Capital Management, said in the days after her death. “Chao, almost certainly a high-ranking member of the Communist Party of China, … sat on the board of state-owned Bank of China, one of the five largest banks in China.”

RelatedFlashback: McConnell’s sister-in-law named to Bank of China board 10 days after Trump election, December 16, 2020

The ranch, located approximately 40 miles from Austin, is linked to Chao’s husband, Jim Breyer, a prominent venture capitalist.

In an interview with a Breitbart affiliate referenced in the above link in 2020 that did not get much corporate media coverage at the time, author Peter Schweitzer outlined what should have been the scandalous connections uniting the extended family of Senate Majority Leader McConnell and the Chinese Communist Party:

“So Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, his wife Elaine Chao, who’s the transportation secretary in the Trump administration, her family has deep economic and financial ties to the Chinese government itself. They are in the shipping business, and they own something called the Foremost Group, and really, in 1993, Mitch McConnell, as a senator, travels to China with his father-in-law, James Chao, as guests of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation.”

“The China State Shipbuilding Corporation is the largest defense contractor in China, and the projections are that by 2030, if current trends continue, they are going to surpass the U.S. Navy as far as naval capability. Basically, what happens is, the China State Shipbuilding Corporation says to the Chao family, ‘Look, we will build your ships. We will finance the purchase of some of your ships. We will provide crews for your ships. We will provide contracts for you to ship state-owned goods from state-owned companies around the Pacific. In other words, we are going to set you up in the shipping business,’ which is exactly what they do, and, in fact, James Chao — this would be Elaine Chao’s father, Mitch McConnell’s father-in-law — and Elaine’s sister, Angela Chao, actually joined the board, in 2007 and 2008, of something called China State Shipbuilding Corporation, CSSC Holdings, which is a subsidiary of the largest defense contractor in China. So you have this powerful American political family that is making U.S. policy related to China, related to trade, and other critical issues that is highly dependent upon the good graces of the Chinese government.”

McConnell, Kentucky Republican, “has benefited because a few years ago, James Chao gave Mitch McConnell a gift between five and twenty-five million dollars that more than quadrupled his net worth overnight,” Schweizer said. “So this is not just about Elaine Chao’s family getting wealthy. That wealth has now trickled into Mitch McConnell’s pocket, as well, and it’s a huge problem because if you chart the positions that Sen. McConnell has taken on China over the last 20 years, guess what? Shock of all shocks, he has become increasingly soft as it relates to China, and I think it is directly related to the fact that he knows his family’s financial future is tied to the good graces and good faith of the Chinese communist government.”

Schweizer described the Chinese government as “freaked out” over the election of Trump.

“So the election of Donald Trump, there’s no other way to say it, it completely freaked out the Chinese government because Trump has really been focused – whether one agrees with him on trade policy or not – he has focused since the 1980s on what he regards as a rising threat of China; whether it relates to trade, economics, or military power.”

“Chao’s connections extend beyond her family’s shipping empire to her previous positions on the board of the Bank of China and the China State Shipbuilding Corporation. Her marriage to Breyer, who has significant stakes in various major corporations and the Boston Celtics, further amplifies the public interest in the case,” Terry Zhou wrote for Business Times on March 2.

“The investigation’s escalation to a criminal inquiry has led the sheriff’s office to withhold releasing detailed reports and evidence to the media, citing potential interference with the investigation and any subsequent legal proceedings,” Zhou added. “This decision underscores the sensitivity and complexity of the case, which has drawn national attention due to the high-profile status of those involved.”

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