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Congress Must Stop Deal on Chinese Telecom firm ZTE

Apparently, President Donald Trump wants to make China great again. At least one particular Chinese company with ties to both the government and to espionage.

Trump, despite strong objections from those across the political spectrum, moved to help save Chinese telecom company ZTE.

Thankfully, Congress gets a say in what happens going forward.

Trump, who has been mouthing off about having had a spy implanted in his presidential campaign — even though there’s absolutely no reason to think that such an assertion is even close to true — wants the spy agency, er, make that telecom company ZTE to pay a fine, to restructure its management and board, to make a pledge — and then to keep operating in the United States.

What this would do is to open the door to allow the Chinese company to spy on U.S. companies and citizens even as it endangers our vital infrastructure.

Here was Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, speaking of ZTE and other Chinese companies such as Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday:

“None of these companies should be operating in this country. None of them. They are used for espionage.”

On Friday, Rubio wrote, on Twitter: “#China crushes U.S. companies with no mercy & they use these telecomm companies to spy & steal from us. Many hoped this time would be different. Now congress will need to act.”

He’s got that right.

Imagine, Congress stepping up and acting to stop Trump from doing something harmful. Imagine, the GOP-led Congress doing its job, rather than being Trump’s lapdog. One can hope.

Trump’s move on ZTE, it seems clear, was part of the White House’s on-again, off-again trade war with China. Which isn’t to suggest that it was part of some master plan, of course. Because the on-again, off-again trade war hasn’t exactly been proceeding as if someone has a clear vision of what will be done next. In fact, the White House hasn’t been acting as though everyone is on the same team, even.

Here was Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in an interview on “Fox News Sunday” on May 20, just days before the president moved to aid ZTE:

“We are putting the trade war on hold. Right now, we have agreed to put the tariffs on hold while we try to execute the framework.”

If so, then why have worked to ramp it up in the first place? And why link ZTE, the spying telecom giant that has been described as little more than an extension of the Chinese ruling party, to the trade war?

No good reason, of course.

It’s time for Congress — Republicans and Democrats alike — to come together to protect America from those who are seeking to do us harm. When it comes to spying, Congress must put America first. – Mass Live

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