Mnuchin: 'Not a surprise' that Chinese president asked Trump to look into ZTE

Mnuchin: 'Not a surprise' that Chinese president asked Trump to look into ZTE
© Greg Nash

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinHillicon Valley: House passes anti-robocall bill | Senators inch forward on privacy legislation | Trump escalates fight over tech tax | Illinois families sue TikTok | Senators get classified briefing on ransomware On The Money: Falling impeachment support raises pressure for Dems on trade | Trump escalates fight over tech tax | Biden eyes minimum tax for corporations | Fed's top regulator under pressure over Dodd-Frank rules Mnuchin raises concerns over global talks on taxing digital economy MORE said Sunday that it isn’t surprising that China’s president asked President TrumpDonald John TrumpStates slashed 4,400 environmental agency jobs in past decade: study Biden hammers Trump over video of world leaders mocking him Iran building hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq: report MORE to look into the Chinese telecommunications firm sanctioned by the U.S. government.

“President Xi [Jinping] asked President Trump to look into this. That’s not a surprise,” Mnuchin told “Fox News Sunday."

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Mnuchin said Trump, who received criticism last week after saying he would help ZTE get “back into business,” is working to protect American jobs and technology.

“The president wants us to be very tough on ZTE. And all he did was ask the secretary to look into this," Mnuchin said, referring to Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossSpace race is on: US can't afford congressional inaction in this critical economic sector Trump escalates fight over tax on tech giants The Hill's Morning Report - Intel panel readies to hand off impeachment baton MORE

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle raised concerns over Trump’s recent tweets about ZTE.

The Commerce Department earlier this year prohibited American companies from selling materials to ZTE, claiming the firm had violated U.S. sanctions.

Following his comments about opening the U.S. market back up to ZTE, the president last week accused some news outlets of writing "false stories" about U.S.-China trade talks.

"Nothing has happened with ZTE except as it pertains to the larger trade deal," Trump wrote on Twitter on May 16.