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Sen. Marsha Blackburn. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn called on her fellow lawmakers to refuse meetings with representatives from Chinese companies, including video sharing app TikTok and telecom company Huawei, in a letter Thursday.

Why it matters: Companies with ties to China have been the target of ire and suspicion from lawmakers from both parties concerned about privacy and security.

Driving the news: Blackburn told colleagues that denying access to Senate offices sends a "warning shot" to Beijing in the misinformation war over the origins of the coronavirus.

  • Banning meetings with Huawei, TikTok, telecom company ZTE, and drone-maker DJI "is a long overdue sanction," she wrote, pointing to bans on government agencies using Huawei and ZTE equipment, and rules against some federal employees using TikTok on government devices.
  • "Their company representatives likewise cannot be trusted to lobby members of Congress with the best of U.S. intentions in mind," Blackburn wrote.

What they're saying:

  • "Contrary to Senator Blackburn’s misinformation, DJI’s American employees welcome every opportunity to discuss issues related to drone technology with our elected officials, helping them to better understand the technology that American first responders rely upon to save lives," DJI said.
  • "TikTok US is led and run by a team of experienced and empowered industry veterans in LA, Silicon Valley, New York, Austin and other cities throughout the country," a spokesperson for the company said. "We believe that open dialogue is the best way for people to learn about our values and policies. We will continue to engage with policymakers who are interested in learning what TikTok stands for."

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Aug 21, 2020 - Economy & Business

Setting the odds on a TikTok deal

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The TikTok shot clock is down to just 25 days, by which time it either has a deal for its U.S. business or has a presidential shutdown notice pinned to its back.

The state of play: Everyone is taking this timeline very seriously. It's possible that President Trump would give an extension, or find another rhetorical wriggle to save millennial face, but those close to the situation say it's a risk they have no intention of taking.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.