Trump Defies Congress With Decision on Chinese Firm

But will China accept the president's terms?
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2018 12:00 PM CDT
Trump Defies Congress With Decision on Chinese Firm
President Donald Trump delivers remarks during the US Naval Academy's graduation and commissioning ceremony, Friday, May 25, 2018, in Annapolis, Md.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Well, ZTE is back in business—sort of. Washington will drop sanctions against the Chinese telecommunications giant if it makes management changes and pays a big fine, a Congressional aide tells Reuters. President Trump tweeted more, saying that "I closed it down then let it reopen with high level security guarantees, change of management and board, must purchase U.S. parts and pay a $1.3 Billion fine." But he's taking political fire from Democrats and Republicans alike for dealing with a company that many consider a national security threat. "President Trump would be helping make China great again," says Sen. Charles Schumer, per the Washington Post. "Simply a fine and changing board members would not protect America’s economic or national security."

Sen. Marco Rubio struck a similar note, tweeting that "#China crushes U.S. companies with no mercy & they use these telecomm companies to spy & steal from us." (TechCrunch goes into detail, saying that over the past 5 years ZTE has been sued an "astonishing" 126 times in the US alone for patent infringement—not to mention that it violated sanctions by selling to North Korea and Iran and then lied about it.) But Trump was under pressure, with Beijing demanding mercy for ZTE in order to resume China-US trade talks on June 2, the Financial Times reports. So does Congress have a veto-proof majority to prevent Trump's move? "Passing such a law could be difficult," says the Post, though lawmakers may pull other political levers to try influencing the White House. (See Trump's defense of easing ZTE sanctions.)

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