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Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A federal judge early on Sunday temporarily blocked a Trump administration order banning downloads of the Chinese-owned global messaging app WeChat.

Why it matters: The temporary injunction means WeChat will remain on Apple's and Google's app stores, despite a Commerce Department order to remove the app by Sunday evening.

  • The move also blocks Commerce from prohibiting other transitions with WeChat in the U.S. that may have affected the site's usability for millions who use the app in the country.

What she's saying: WeChat users who filed a lawsuit “have shown serious questions going to the merits of the First Amendment claim, the balance of hardships tips in the plaintiffs’ favor," U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler in San Francisco wrote.

  • “[W]hile the general evidence about the threat to national security related to China (regarding technology and mobile technology) is considerable, the specific evidence about WeChat is modest," Beeler said.
  • "[T]he regulation — which eliminates a channel of communication without any apparent substitutes — burdens substantially more speech than is necessary to further the government’s significant interest. This affects the assessment of the public interest."

Context: The Commerce Department on Friday issued the order on national security grounds.

  • The Justice Department argued that blocking the order would "frustrate and displace the president’s determination of how best to address threats to national security," per Reuters.
  • The Commerce Department delayed a similar ban on Chinese-owned TikTok after President Trump said on Saturday he approved "in concept" a deal whereby TikTok will be allowed to continue operating in the U.S., with Oracle as its "trusted technology partner."
  • The Trump administration did not immediately comment on Sunday's injunction.

Go deeper

Dec 22, 2020 - World

Scoop: DHS to issue China data security warning to U.S. businesses

Photo: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security is set to issue an advisory to U.S. businesses, warning them of data security risks associated with using communications equipment and services from China-linked companies.

The big picture: The advisory comes as the Trump administration makes a final push on China, highlighting the administration's emphasis on the risks posed by the close relationship between some Chinese companies and the Chinese government.

The Biden protection plan

Joe Biden announces his first run for the presidency in June 1987. Photo: Howard L. Sachs/CNP/Getty Images

The Joe Biden who became the 46th president on Wednesday isn't the same blabbermouth who failed in 1988 and 2008.

Why it matters: Biden now heeds guidance about staying on task with speeches and no longer worries a gaffe or two will cost him an election. His staff also limits the places where he speaks freely and off the cuff. This Biden protective bubble will only tighten in the months ahead, aides tell Axios.

Bush labels Clyburn the “savior” for Democrats

House Majority Whip James Clyburn takes a selfie Wednesday with former President George W. Bush. Photo: Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Images

Former President George W. Bush credited Rep. James Clyburn with being the "savior" of the Democratic Party, telling the South Carolinian at Wednesday's inauguration his endorsement allowed Joe Biden to win the party's presidential nomination.

Why it matters: The nation's last two-term Republican president also said Clyburn's nod allowed for the transfer of power, because he felt only Biden had the ability to unseat President Trump.