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ZTE"s research institute in Tianjin, China. Photo: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

Congress will not push to reinstate a Trump administration ban against Chinese phone maker ZTE, which President Xi Jinping successfully lobbied President Trump to lift, reports Bloomberg, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: Lawmakers' initial effort to block Trump's ZTE deal was the last obstacle the Chinese company — a repeat violator of U.S. sanctions and considered a national security threat by the Pentagon — faced before returning to business as usual.

Timeline:

  • In April, the Commerce Department issued a 7-year ban on American companies selling parts to ZTE because the Chinese firm was found guilty of repeatedly skirting U.S. sanctions by selling phones with U.S. parts to Iran and North Korea. The Pentagon also banned ZTE phones from military bases due to concerns about espionage.
  • The ban led to the effective shutdown of ZTE — revealing the company's reliance on U.S. tech.
  • In May, Xi approached Trump, and Trump directed the Commerce Department to re-examine ZTE's case.
  • In June, the Trump administration struck a deal with the company: It would be allowed to buy from American companies if it switched up leadership, paid hefty fines and allowed U.S. watchdogs inside to company to ensure compliance.
  • When the deal was announced, lawmakers pushed legislation to reinstate Commerce's original ban by attaching it to a must-pass defense bill. But that part of the bill has been dropped, per Bloomberg.
  • ZTE has executed on the Trump administration's demands, and in July, was back in business.

The bottom line: ZTE's fate was a clear example of the leverage the U.S. has over Chinese tech, and the company's resurrection sets a dangerous precedent for U.S.–China negotiations amid an escalating trade war.

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Kamala Harris is sworn in as vice president. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are being inaugurated as president and vice president respectively in a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: Top Democrats and Republicans gathered for the peaceful transfer of power at the Capitol only two weeks after an unprecedented siege on the building by Trump supporters. Trump did not attend the ceremony.

Joe Biden sworn in as 46th president of the United States

Joe Biden was sworn in just before noon on Wednesday as the 46th president of the United States, in an inauguration ceremony unlike any other.

Why it matters: The 78-year-old Democrat assumes the presidency at a fraught moment for the country, which remains polarized and in the grips of a coronavirus crisis that has killed more than 400,000 Americans.

Updated 10 mins ago - Politics & Policy

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U.S. Capitol and stage are lit at sunrise ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden. Photo: Patrick Semansky - Pool/Getty Images

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has taken the oath of office at the Capitol. Watch a livestream here.

What's next: President-elect Joe Biden will take his oath of office. Shortly after, President Biden will deliver his inaugural address. What to expect.