Republicans on the House Committee on Homeland Security rejected a resolution by the committee's ranking member that would have required the Department of Homeland Security to produce any information it had on ZTE, the Chinese telecom company recently sanctioned for cyberespionage activities and violating U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea.
“I introduced this resolution [of inquiry] to drive urgent action by the Committee on a timely national and cybersecurity threat,” said Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss. “There is a very real prospect that President Trump will go soft on ZTE, a habitual sanctions violator and bad actor.”
Trump recently reversed his position on ZTE and started to make noise about lifting the ban shortly after the Commerce Department imposed it. The House Appropriations Committee on May 17 unanimously accepted an amendment to an appropriations bill that reinforced the sanctions. In late May he said a deal was being hammered out to bolster the company.
Thompson called the Republicans' move unfortunate, saying that “in lock-step” they “refused to demand critical information that we need to understand whether or not the president conducted a national security review to determine if the potential risks posed by ZTE products are tolerable or could be mitigated.”
He contended that “without aggressive oversight, we may never know what actually informed the President's May 13 Twitter directive that the Commerce Department help ZTE 'get back into business fast' when the Defense Department, the intelligence community, and our allies have all issued stark warnings and cautions about ZTE.”