Pompeo says Trump will take action 'in the coming days' on TikTok and other Chinese apps

1 month 2 weeks 6 days ago Sunday, August 02 2020 Aug 2, 2020 Sunday, August 02, 2020 11:46:13 AM CDT August 02, 2020 in News
By: CNN

CNN -- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that President Donald Trump "will take action in the coming days" on Chinese apps, including TikTok, citing national security risks.

Trump told reporters on Friday that he would ban TikTok from operating in the United States through emergency economic powers or an executive order -- though it was not immediately clear what such an order would look like and what legal challenges it might face. The threat met concern from users of the app, who have come to love the short-form video platform.

But Pompeo said during an interview on Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures" that Chinese apps like TikTok are an issue for US national security and the privacy of Americans.

"Here's what I hope that the American people will come to recognize -- these Chinese software companies doing business the United States, whether it's TikTok or WeChat, there are countless more ... are feeding data directly to the Chinese Communist Party, their national security apparatus -- could be their facial recognition pattern, it could be information about their residence, their phone numbers, their friends, who they're connected to," he told Maria Bartiromo.

He continued, "President Trump has said enough and we're going to fix it and so he will take action in the coming days with respect to a broad array of national security risks that are presented by software connected to the Chinese Communist Party."

Microsoft is in talks to acquire TikTok, according to the New York Times, citing a person with knowledge of the discussions. Microsoft declined to comment to CNN Business on the matter. Trump firmly rejected the idea of a potential spin-off deal satisfying national security concerns.

Asked if acquisition of TikTok by Microsoft would eliminate "China surveillance," Pompeo did not offer a clear answer.

"I promise you the President, when he makes his decision, will make sure that everything we have done drives us as close to zero risk for the American people. That's the mission set that he laid out for all of us when we began to evaluate this now several months back. We're closing in on a solution and I think you'll see the President's announcement shortly," he said.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday that there was bipartisan agreement that TikTok could not stay in its current format "because it risks sending back information on 100 million Americans," referencing the concern that American user data will end up in the hands of the Chinese government. He noted Republicans and Democrats, including Sens. Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, were all in agreement.

"We all agree there needs to be a change," he told Martha Raddatz on ABC's "This Week."

Later when talking to reporters, Mnuchin said that the Committee on Foreign Investments in the US, which he chairs, had reviewed the app and unanimously made a recommendation on action to the President but would not give details on what that recommendation was. Mnuchin added that Trump was looking at other options including forcing a sale by TikTok's parent company or banning the app using the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

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