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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. Department of Justice on Friday filed legal opposition to TikTok's request to delay a ban on downloading the app, with a federal judge in Washington scheduling a hearing on the request for Sunday morning.

Why it matters: The White House could have simply postponed the ban on its own for another week or two, as it did last Friday. This move suggests it's seeking to use the ban as leverage in ongoing negotiations.

Be smart: TikTok has a very good chance of winning its temporary restraining order request, based on a similar and successful petition last week by Chinese messaging app WeChat.

  • The White House threatened bans against both companies via executive orders on the same night, with the companies subsequently arguing that the EOs were improper in terms of process and substance.

The state of play: There are two sets of simultaneous talks. One is the hard work of CFIUS negotiations, at this point centered on technical issues. The other is political rhetoric coming from both the White House and Beijing.

  • Those familiar with the CFIUS talks say it's all systems go, with no major changes to things like ownership structure. As one source close to the process told me this morning: "We all know how to go home. If this thing had blown up, you'd have heard it blew up."
  • Anyone watching the politicians gets a very different impression. Trump has insisted that Oracle and Walmart must have "total control" (they won't), and bragged about a $5 billion education fund that doesn't really exist. State-run media in China has called the current deal "a dirty and underhanded trick."
  • Remember, it's Trump and Chinese government officials who need to sign off on any final deal. People like Steve Mnuchin and Larry Ellison and ByteDance CEO Zhang Yiming don't get votes.
  • Sources continue to disagree on whether China has quietly given its blessing to the current structure (i.e., ByteDance wouldn't be negotiating otherwise) or if its demands are yet to come.

The bottom line: We often talk about how difficult it is to get laws passed heading into an election. This might be the first time that the same applies to a business transaction.

Go deeper

China is the greatest, growing threat to America

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

China has outlined strategies for 2018, 2025 and 2050 all designed to displace the United States as the dominant global economic and national security superpower.

Why it matters: While America dawdles and bickers, China is thinking long-term — and acting now, everywhere. There is no U.S. equivalent of a plan for 2025 or 2050 — or really for next year. 

Updated 29 mins ago - World

Fatal stabbing of British MP David Amess declared a terrorist incident

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Authorities have declared the death of David Amess a terrorist incident, hours after the Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K. was fatally stabbed while meeting with local constituents in a church in eastern England on Friday.

The big picture: The Metropolitan Police has found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."

Biden: DOJ should prosecute those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas

President Biden speaks with reporters at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that the Justice Department should prosecute those who defy subpoenas from the Jan. 6 select committee.

Why it matters: The president's remarks come one day after Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon failed to show up for a deposition before the committee.