Trump Denies Knowledge of Arrest Warrant for Huawei’s Meng
7 December 2018
EIRNS—It now seems to be confirmed that the Dec. 1 Canadian arrest of Huawei Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Chair Meng Wanzhou was an attempt to sabotage the Dec. 1 summit between U.S. President Donald Trump’s and Chinese President Xi Jinping. According to two U.S. officials cited by Reuters, President Trump knew nothing beforehand about the arrest warrant for Ms. Meng. On the other hand, National Security Advisor John Bolton said that while he did know beforehand, he did not inform the President.
Another official told Reuters that while it was a Justice Department matter and not orchestrated in advance by the White House, the case could send a message that Washington is serious about what it sees as Beijing’s violations of international trade norms. Or, on the Justice Department angle, it shows what a mess there is in the U.S. This was the view conveyed in today’s Global Times by Mei Xinyu, a research fellow with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in the Ministry of Commerce, who wrote:
"There are those who claim that the Trump Administration didn’t plan the Meng arrest—instead, it was a deliberate move by the Democrat-controlled New York judiciary authorities to create an obstacle for China-U.S. relations. If that’s true, then the incident just serves to underline the major flaws in the U.S. political system..."
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement on Meng’s arrest. He told reporters in Montreal, "The appropriate authorities took the decisions in this case without any political involvement or interference ... [and] we were advised by them with a few days’ notice that this was in the works."
John Bolton also said that he had advance knowledge. On a Dec. 6 interview with U.S. National Public Radio, he said, "I knew in advance. This is something that we get from the Justice Department. And these kinds of things happen with some frequency. We certainly don’t inform the President on every one of them," Bolton said.
"So not respecting this particular arrest, but Huawei is one company we’ve been concerned about. There are others as well. I think this is going to be a major subject of the negotiations that President Trump and President Xi Jinping agreed to in Buenos Aires.
"I’d rather not get into the specifics of law enforcement matters. But we’ve had enormous concerns for years ... in this country ... about the practice of Chinese firms to use stolen American intellectual property, to engage in forced technology transfers, and to be used as arms of the Chinese government’s objectives in terms of information technology in particular," he said.
Bolton waffled on NPR’s specific questions about the arrest of Meng on allegations of violating the Iran sanctions. Meng is supposed to have been colluding with HSBC to conduct financial transactions with Iran. Both HSBC and Standard Chartered, and likely others, have been prosecuted and investigated since 2012, for Iran-associated "money-laundering," i.e. financial transactions with/for Iranian entities, by the Justice Department (U.S. Attorney for Southern District NY,) the New York State Financial Services Commission, and the Manhattan District Attorney. Both banks paid big fines in 2012, and are still under investigation there. [DEA/PBG/MGM]