Donald Trump suffered another blow on Sunday as a federal judge hit the pause button on the former Celebrity Apprentice host ban on the Chinese created widely successful video app.
Coming just as the New York Times dropped a bombshell expose on Trump’s long hidden taxes and debts, the partial injunction granted by U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols was unveiled with less than four hours to go until the midnight ban took effect.
Appointed by Trump three years ago to the bench in the District of Columbia, Judge Nichols offered no reason for granting TikTok’s motion. The ruling follows an often-fiery hearing on the matter this morning.
However, granting of the partial injunction sets up another standoff in what has been financial and digital trench warfare since the re-election seeking Trump declared earlier this summer that the collection of user data by Chinese-owned ByteDance, parent company of TikTok, was a national security concern.
Arguing that its rights had been violated, last month ByteDance took the administration to court over the looming ban. Leaning into the realpolitik at play as the Presidential battle between Trump and ex-VP Joe Biden went into the final stretch, the tech company asserted that Trump seeking to ban TikTok “clearly reflect a political decision to campaign on an anti-China platform.”
Today’s ruling by Judge Nichols actually is the second halt in the ban in the last couple of weeks.
Originally scheduled for September 20, the ban was pushed back on September 19 until tonight by the administration after a preliminary green light was given by Trump himself to TikTok partnering stateside with the Larry Ellison co-founded Oracle and Walmart. That complicated agreement would see the creation of a new company called TikTokGlobal, which will be based in the USA.
As my colleague Ted Johnson point out last week, when another federal judge stopped the administration’s desire to ban downloads of the also Chinese-owned WeChat app, Trump is looking for a payout of sorts, as usual. The incumbent said last weekend that the companies involved in the TikTok deal had agreed to contribute $5 billion to an education foundation to “educate people as to real history of our country” and “not the fake history.” Previously, the posturing Trump said in a speech that he was creating a commission to promote “patriotic” education – a move that many took, as with his attack on the dance moves filled TikTok, to be pure campaign politics in motion for the struggling POTUS.
Here is the Department of Commerce’s statement on TikTok preliminary injunction ruling:
WASHINGTON – On September 27, 2020, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia granted a nationwide preliminary injunction against the implementation of Executive Order (E.O.) 13942, limited to the Secretary of Commerce’s Identification of Prohibited Transactions with TikTok/ByteDance involving ‘any provision of services … to distribute or maintain the TikTok mobile application, constituent code, or application updates through an online mobile application store.’ The E.O. is fully consistent with the law and promotes legitimate national security interests. The Government will comply with the injunction and has taken immediate steps to do so, but intends to vigorously defend the E.O. and the Secretary’s implementation efforts from legal challenges.
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