Dem warns Trump: No 'secret side deals' to win China's support

Dem warns Trump: No 'secret side deals' to win China's support
© Greg Nash

The top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee criticized President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness school deans call for lifting country-specific visa caps Bolton told ex-Trump aide to call White House lawyers about Ukraine pressure campaign: report Federal prosecutors in New York examining Giuliani business dealings with Ukraine: report MORE on Monday for saying he is working with China’s president to help a telecommunications firm sanctioned by the U.S. government.

In a tweet from the committee minority’s account, Rep. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelFury over Trump Syria decision grows Furious Republicans prepare to rebuke Trump on Syria Democrats to offer resolution demanding Trump reverse Syria decision MORE (D-N.Y.) suggested Trump could be offering to help the Chinese firm, ZTE, to gain China's backing for a deal with North Korea.


“If the President is attempting to earn China’s support for a potential deal on North Korea, it cannot be through secret side deals,” Engel said.

“We cannot reach an agreement by selling out our national-security interests & giving bad actors a pass.” 

The Commerce Department last month prohibited American companies from selling to ZTE on the grounds that the telecommunications firm violated U.S. sanctions.

Trump said on Twitter Sunday that he would work with President Xi Jinping to bring the company “back into business.” He warned that "too many jobs in China" are being lost.

The president has since received criticism from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, including Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump defends 'crime buster' Giuliani amid reported probe Louisiana voters head to the polls in governor's race as Trump urges GOP support Trump urges Louisiana voters to back GOP in governor's race then 'enjoy the game' MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio Rubio10 top Republicans who continue to deny the undeniable George Conway hits Republicans for not saying Trump's name while criticizing policy Furious Republicans prepare to rebuke Trump on Syria MORE (R-Fla.).

“President Trump’s about-face on ZTE is baffling,” Engel said.

“Just last month, the U.S. government hit ZTE with a seven-year ban for violating Iran and North Korea sanctions then lying about their efforts to address the problem.” 

The White House on Sunday aimed to clarify the president’s tweets with a statement from deputy press secretary Lindsey Walters, who said the Commerce Department would decide any regulatory course of action.

“The administration is in contact with China on this issue, among others in the bilateral relationship,” she said. 

“President Trump expects Secretary Ross to exercise his independent judgment, consistent with applicable laws and regulations, to resolve the regulatory action involving ZTE based on its facts.”