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Photos: Getty Images

Among the most vocal critics of President Trump's cave on his trade threats to China is Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, his former opponent on the 2016 campaign trail.

What's happening: A perfect storm of North Korea, Steve Mnuchin and a lack of internal focus has Trump backing away from tariffs against Chinese goods and reportedly floating a deal for rogue Chinese phone maker ZTE. Rubio, one of the co-chairs of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, is tweeting a steady stream of rebukes of the White House's moves — and hinting that Congress may act to overrule Trump's decisions.

The context

Saturday saw a joint statement from the U.S. and China issued about the ongoing trade war:

  • "There was a consensus on taking effective measures to substantially reduce the United States trade deficit in goods with China ... China will significantly increase purchases of United States goods and services."
  • "Both sides agreed to encourage two-way investment and to strive to create a fair, level playing field for competition."

The next day, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin made things clearer on Fox News Sunday:

  • "We're putting the trade war on hold, so right now we have agreed to put the tariffs on hold while we try to execute the framework."

And today, The Wall Street Journal reported that Chinese phonemaker ZTE had become part of the deal:

  • "The U.S. and China have agreed on the broad outline of a deal that would save imperiled Chinese telecom giant ZTE Corp."
  • The background: The Commerce Department's ban that killed ZTE was put in place due to the company's repeated violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea. The Pentagon has also banned ZTE's phones from retail outlets on U.S. military bases due to concerns from intelligence agencies that the Chinese are using its devices to spy on Americans.
Rubio on ZTE
Rubio on the China moves

Go deeper: Rubio told Axios earlier this month that the U.S. can't remain silent on Chinese human rights violations in order to secure a better trade deal.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Technology

TikTok gets more time (again)

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The White House is again giving TikTok's Chinese parent company more to satisfy national security concerns, rather than initiating legal action, a source familiar with the situation tells Axios.

The state of play: China's ByteDance had until Friday to resolve issues raised by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), which is chaired by Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin. This was the company's third deadline, with CFIUS having provided two earlier extensions.

Federal judge orders Trump administration to restore DACA

DACA recipients and their supporters rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 18. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, giving undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children a chance to petition for protection from deportation.

Why it matters: DACA was implemented under former President Obama, but President Trump has sought to undo the program since taking office. Friday’s ruling will require Department of Homeland Security officers to begin accepting applications starting Monday and guarantee that work permits are valid for two years.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Health: CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use" — Death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased testing can reduce transmission.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Cities: Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.

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