President Trump’s advisors got into a knockdown, drag-out battle in the Oval Office late last week as they discussed a TikTok ban Washington Post reported. Trade advisor Peter Navarro accused Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin of being gentle with China when Navarro pushed for an outright ban on the Chinese video-sharing app, according to the US government post Officewhen Mnuchin pleaded for a TikTok sale to a US company.
Navarro told the Post in a statement that President Trump bases its decisions on “strong, often conflicting views.” “Because this is true, it is critical to a strong America that ̵
It’s the latest entry into the very weird state of TikTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance. A quick look back: President Trump signed an ordinance on Thursday banning all transactions with ByteDance from September 20th. TikTok said the order was “out of compliance” and was issued “without due process.” NPR reported Saturday that TikTok was preparing a lawsuit to challenge the order, which it may file as early as Tuesday.
It is not clear how Trump’s Executive Order would affect a possible sale of TikTok in whole or in part to Microsoft. The software giant said in a blog post on Aug. 2 that its CEO had spoken to President Trump and was “ready to continue discussions to consider buying TikTok in the US.” This marked the first time the company has confirmed reports of its acquisition of TikTok.
“Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the president’s concerns. It aims to acquire TikTok, subject to a full security clearance, and provide reasonable economic benefits to the United States, including the US Treasury Department, ”the blog post reads. The company expects to “quickly start talks with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, within a few weeks and in any case to conclude these talks by September 15, 2020 at the latest”.
The administration has threatened to ban the video sharing app for several weeks. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on July 7 that a ban is “something we are thinking about”. But TikTok’s US general manager Vanessa Pappas said in a video on Aug. 1 that “we don’t plan on going anywhere” and the company is “here for the long term.”
TikTok is a Beijing subsidiary of ByteDance and has been screened for privacy practices and possible links with the Chinese government. Pompeo compared TikTok to Huawei and ZTE, two Chinese companies that the Trump administration has identified as threats to US national security.
The president’s order states that apps developed by China such as TikTok “threaten the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States.” She cites the Law on International Emergency Economic Powers along with the Law on National Emergencies as the authority for the order, a somewhat unusual move for the White House.
After a Friday New York Times A CIA evaluation reportedly found no evidence that Chinese intelligence agencies used TikTok to access data on American users.