Trade

Federal Judge Calls BS on “National Security”

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The full scope of Trump's trade war with China including his sanctions on Huawei and their various suppliers has been legally justified by invoking "national security," but the Trump regime has never made it clear how imports of Chinese-made goods or exports of American-made goods to Huawei pose a threat to national security.

The Commerce Department under Trump also invoked "national security" to announce a ban on popular video-sharing platform TikTok and its parent company ByteDance, but now a federal judge is asking where the meat is.

The alleged threat to national security is "hypothetical," the judge said when blocking Trump's ban on TikTok.

U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone on Friday blocked the Commerce Department order set to take effect on Nov. 12 that would have effectively barred ByteDance-owned TikTok from operating in the United States.

The Commerce Department said on Sunday it would “comply with the injunction ... but intends to vigorously defend the (executive order) and the Secretary’s implementation efforts from legal challenges.” [...]

Beetlestone wrote that the “government’s own descriptions of the national security threat posed by the TikTok app are phrased in the hypothetical.”

The judge is right, but this could also easily apply to the full range of sanctions and bans the Trump regime has imposed on Chinese entities.

The regime has alleged that the Chinese government could use TikTok to collect information on Americans, but that's hypothetical. Americans willingly hand over gobs for personal information on a daily basis to other platforms owned by Google, Twitter, Microsoft and Facebook. The latter store information locally here inside the United States, but so does TikTok.

The Commerce Department was actually trying to block TikTok from hosting their data locally.

Beetlestone enjoined the agency from barring data hosting within the United States for TikTok, content delivery services and other technical transactions.

President Donald Trump’s administration contends that TikTok poses national security concerns as personal data collected on 100 million Americans who use the app could be obtained by China’s government. TikTok denies the allegations.

Even if the Chinese goods and companies targeted by the Trump regime posed a legitimate threat to national security, the regime has bungled and blustered their way forward in a manner that will be difficult for the next administration to defend in court if they want to.

If Joe Biden wins, there will probably come a time when the right wing will screech that he's surrendering to China, or something, but the truth is there's no 'there,' there. The Trump regime hasn't substantiated anything.

Some congressional Democrats may criticize Biden, too, if that happens, but I don't particularly care if they think they need to say things to continuing holding office. And if they actually find it that disturbing, they can update our laws.

With all of that said, I think we know the real reason Trump has tried to ban TikTok is because young people have used it to organize against him. But that wouldn't necessarily make this ban unique. Trump's entire trade war is politically motivated.

  • muselet

    Good on District Judge Wendy Beetlestone for pointing out the obvious: the administration never even tried to justify its ban on TikTok. Of course, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals might take a different view of the matter, as might the Supremes.

    Still, small victories count..

    Expect Donald Trump to rage-tweet that Beetlestone was born in Nigeria and is an Obama judge!, not a real judge.

    Also, expect the death threats to start within the day.

    –alopecia

    • Christopher Foxx

      They’d wait a whole day? That’s not like them.