Warner, Rubio ask Trump to reinstate ZTE ban

Warner, Rubio ask Trump to reinstate ZTE ban
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Sens. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerHillicon Valley: Coronavirus deal includes funds for mail-in voting | Twitter pulled into fight over virus disinformation | State AGs target price gouging | Apple to donate 10M masks Senator sounds alarm on cyber threats to internet connectivity during coronavirus crisis Senator calls for cybersecurity review at health agencies after hacking incident MORE (D-Va.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioLessons from the front line — Florida's fight with sea level rise SNAP, airlines among final hurdles to coronavirus stimulus deal Senior State Department official headed to Peru to bring home stranded Americans, Rubio says MORE (R-Fla.) are asking President TrumpDonald John TrumpWith VP pick, Biden can't play small ball in a long ball world Coronavirus hits defense contractor jobs Wake up America, your country doesn't value your life MORE to reinstate a Commerce Department ban from earlier this year barring American companies from doing business with Chinese telecom firm ZTE, warning that the company poses a threat to U.S. national security.

"We strongly believe that the April sanctions order—which would have threatened ZTE’s survival—should not be used as a bargaining chip in negotiations with China on unrelated matters," the two wrote Tuesday in a letter to the president. "The Senate and the U.S. Intelligence Community are in agreement that ZTE poses a significant threat to our national security."

Amid trade talks with China and ahead of a summit with North Korea, the Trump administration reached a deal to lift sanctions on ZTE earlier this month. In exchange for changes to the company's leadership, the Commerce Department agreed to lift the ban.

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ZTE was hit with the ban in April after the Commerce Department concluded the company had lied to regulators investigating Iran and North Korea sanction violations.

Trump's ZTE concessions angered lawmakers in both parties who have been warning about the national security threat that firms with ties to the Chinese government pose. The Senate voted last week to reinstate the government ban.

Warner and Rubio asked Trump to support the bill and to sign it if it reaches his desk. They also pointed to statements from the administration's top intelligence officials warning of the threat that ZTE poses.

"ZTE, though publicly traded, is a state-backed enterprise that is ultimately loyal not to its shareholders, but to the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese government," the senators wrote. "This patronage relationship poses unacceptable risks to American sovereignty; risks that will only increase if the company is permitted to establish itself deeply in America’s telecommunications infrastructure."