President Trump gets involved in UCLA basketball players' shoplifting case


President Donald Trump said he has personally appealed to Chinese President Xi Jinping to help resolve the case of three UCLA men's basketball players who were arrested for alleged shoplifting in China last week and now potentially face lengthy jail time.

Chinese authorities have permitted them to remain where the team initially stayed, a ritzy hotel featuring evening jazz performances and a glass-enclosed pool.

"They're working on it right now", Trump told reporters in the Philippines as he prepared to return to Washington after a almost two-week visit to Asia that included an earlier stop in Beijing.

The Post reported that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has been in touch with the players' families and spoken to UCLA basketball coach Steve Alford.

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The Bruins visited China to play in a game sponsored by Alibaba, an e-commerce giant based in Hangzhou. ESPN reported the team has returned to the United States, without the three detained players. The source noted that there is surveillance footage of the players shoplifting from three stores inside of a high-end shopping center, which houses Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Salvatore Ferragamo stores. Under watch by Hangzhou police, they've been staying at a lakeside hotel where they've been unable to leave. The athletes were unable to play in the game, and they remain in China awaiting their fate while the rest of their team returned to the US days ago.

LaVar Ball, his wife Tina and son LaMelo had breakfast with the UCLA team in Shanghai on Wednesday morning. The players are LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill.

The Ball patriarch has since been unnaturally silent during the whole ordeal, but did comment on Twitter that "It ain't that big a deal".