After two years of assailing his predecessors for putting Chinese workers before Americans, President Trump today said he is directing his administration to reverse the effective shutdown of ZTE in order to save Chinese jobs.

The big picture: The Commerce Department banned American companies from selling parts to ZTE for seven years because the Chinese company violated U.S. sanctions by selling equipment made with American parts to Iran and North Korea. As a result of the sanctions, ZTE halted operations last week. Now, Trump says he's working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to save the Chinese phone maker.

Yes, but: Trump's move to help ZTE — an Iran sanctions violator — comes as his administration is contemplating sanctioning European companies that do business with Iran. National Security Adviser John Bolton told CNN's Jake Tapper Sunday that action against U.S. allies is "possible."

Be smart, via Axios contributor Bill Bishop:

  • A reprieve for ZTE is clearly a U.S. concession, and we do not yet know what Trump got in return. The ZTE episode has only reinforced China’s fears about its excessive reliance on U.S. technology and its determination to accelerate efforts to achieve indigenous technology independence.
  • Trump’s willingness to accede to Xi’s request for leniency towards ZTE — a firm caught repeatedly violating U.S. law — may also signal an increased likelihood of a U.S.–China deal to diffuse the current trade tensions, but expect this to be only a brief ceasefire in the growing Sino–U.S. tech rivalry

Go deeper: ZTE sanctions might strengthen Chinese tech

Go deeper

Updated 4 mins ago - World

China announces retaliatory sanctions on Rubio, Cruz and other U.S. officials

Photos: Graeme Jennings/Pool/Getty Images; Al Drago/Pool/Getty Images

China's Foreign Ministry announced Monday that it's imposing sanctions on Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), along with nine other Americans, per Bloomberg.

Why it matters: It's a direct response to similar actions by the U.S. that included the Trump administration placing sanctions on officials Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam last Friday over Beijing's encroachment of the Asian financial hub's s autonomy.

Biden’s union push could force showdown with Elon Musk

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images, Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Joe Biden wants to go big on climate change and big on unions. Elon Musk leads on the former but lags on the latter.

Why it matters: Musk isn’t uniquely averse to unions, but Tesla is considered a leader on the type of new technologies needed to tackle climate change. Musk’s leadership ethos could be in the crosshairs if Biden becomes president and follows through on his campaign vows.

Updated 46 mins ago - World

Police and protesters clash in Belarus after "Europe's last dictator" claims election win

Protesters and riot police clash in Minsk, Belarus, on Sunday during a demonstration against President Alexander Lukashenko's claim of a landslide victory. Photo: Misha Friedman/Getty Images)

Riot police clashed with protesters in Belarus overnight after a government exit poll predicted Sunday President Aleksander Lukashenko, an authoritarian who has ruled the Eastern European country since 1994, had overwhelmingly defeated a pro-democracy opposition candidate.

Why it matters: It's a precarious moment for the former Soviet republic, where decades of repression and a complete disregard for the coronavirus pandemic threaten to topple "Europe's last dictator." Rights groups said at least one protester was killed and dozens more wounded in a "police crackdown," per AP.