The mounting public distress over the Trump administration’s choice to separate immigrating children from their parents and guardians at the United States border with Mexico seems to have buried high-level talks in Washington on the fate of ZTE.
Reuters reports that President Donald Trump met with a Republican caucus of senators and House representatives this morning. Trump had originally wanted to address the Defense Department budget, passed by the Senate yesterday, that would have prevented the agency and its contractors from doing business with the Chinese manufacturer. The president had only recently advocated for the Commerce Department to adjust its punishment and lift an imports ban on the company, something that prevented the company from doing most of its business for the past two months.
A spokesperson for Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who was a sponsor of the amendment blocking out ZTE and Chinese telecommunications cohort Huawei, confirmed that the topic of ZTE was discussed, but did not specify any negotiation.
This afternoon, President Trump signed an executive order to “maintain family unity” when detaining those who do not legally immigrate into the United States — this after several days of maintaining that the administration had no choice in the discretion of prosecution that allowed the government to separately detain children from their parents.
Intelligence officials have been concerned about Chinese networking equipment suppliers, suspected of intellectual trade theft, sanctions breaches and acting as a user data collection front of the Chinese government.