Aug 3, 2020 - Technology

Trump says TikTok will be banned if not sold by Sept. 15, demands cut of sale fee

President Trump said Monday that TikTok will be shut down in the U.S. if it hasn't been bought by Microsoft or another company by Sept. 15, and argued — without elaborating — that the U.S. Treasury should get "a very substantial portion" of the sale fee.

Why it matters: Trump appears to have backed off his threat to immediately ban TikTok after speaking with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who said Sunday that the company will pursue discussions with TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance to purchase the app in the U.S.

The big picture: TikTok has come under intense scrutiny in the U.S. due to concerns that the vast amounts of data it collects could be accessed by the Chinese government, potentially posing a national security threat.

  • Negotiations between TikTok and Microsoft will be overseen by a special government panel called the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), Reuters reports.

What he's saying: Trump appeared to suggest on Monday that Microsoft would have to pay the U.S. government in order to complete the deal, but did not explain the precedent for such an action. He also argued that Microsoft should buy all of TikTok, not just 30% of the company.

  • "I don't mind if, whether it's Microsoft or somebody else, a big company, a secure company, a very American company, buy it. It's probably easier to buy the whole thing than to buy 30% of it. How do you do 30%? Who's going to get the name? The name is hot, the brand is hot," Trump said.
  • "A very substantial portion of that price is going to have to come into the Treasury of the United States. Because we're making it possible for this deal to happen. Right now they don't have any rights, unless we give it to them. So if we're going to give them the rights, it has to come into this country. It's a little bit like the landlord/tenant," he added.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Dan Primack: Trump's inexplicable claim that part of Microsoft's purchase price would have to go to the Treasury is skating very close to announcing extortion.

Go deeper: A wild weekend for Microsoft's play for TikTok

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