President Trump Sows Confusion On TikTok Sale Deadline

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Recent comments from President Donald Trump are reportedly causing some confusion about the deadline for when TikTok must be sold. The news follows a statement made by the president this week, providing a deadline of September 15. The deadline was provided by the president as he boarded Air Force One.

Mr. Trump also indicated that there will be no extension on that deadline. That's despite that the company has reportedly been in active talks with at least two groups to work out a deal. Namely, talk has centered around a buy by Microsoft and Walmart or Oracle and an unnamed third-party US company. TikTok will need to be sold or it will be closed up, the president said.

So where's the confusion from Trump on the TikTok deadline?

The president's statements on TikTok this week are not necessarily consistent with previous news about TikTok being banned. The deadline and process to ultimately ban the app were initially set in motion when Mr. Trump signed an executive presidential order. That was signed on August 6 and stated that TikTok's Chinese parent company, ByteDance needed to sell TikTok to a US company by September 20.

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That's no fewer than five days later than the president's most recent comments would suggest. But it's also the third date that's been officially provided on the matter.

President Trump also extended the initial August 6 order approximately a week after it was signed. That initial extension pushed back the date into early November.

It isn't immediately clear which of the dates would hold up in court if TikTok chooses to challenge the push to ban it from use in the US. In the interim, the Chinese government has put new regulations in place. Those require ByteDance to obtain a special government license if it wants to sell the company and associated app at all.

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How is TikTok responding?

TikTok parent company ByteDance has responded to the potential ban with several measures. Not least of all, it has reportedly started plans to move TikTok headquarters to Singapore. That comes as other reports note plans for the company to close up shop in the US.

Within the US itself, TikTok has filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, alleging that the administration has ignored good faith efforts to address concerns about TikTok. American employees of the company have additionally planned to file their own lawsuit, led by noteworthy attorney Mike Godwin.

Both cases are based on constitutional guarantees for due process.  The company is operated in the US and employs US workers, the cases argue, but no due process was afforded. Specifically, because the Trump administration bypassed due process by signing the TikTok deadline into an executive order.

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