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Trump Says Deal Between Oracle and TikTok Has His ‘Blessing’

WASHINGTON — President Trump said Saturday that he had given his “blessing” to an investment by the software maker Oracle in the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok, suggesting that the app may be given a reprieve from his administration’s upcoming ban on the popular platform.

The Trump administration has been reviewing a potential deal between Oracle, Walmart and ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese owner, to see if it assuages national security concerns. The Trump administration had ordered TikTok to be removed from American app stores at midnight on Sunday and cease commercial partnerships with other American companies by Nov. 12, arguing that the app provided a potential conduit for China to gather data on American citizens.

“I have given the deal my blessing,” Mr. Trump told reporters outside the White House on Saturday. “If they get it done that’s great, if they don’t that’s fine too.”

He added that the new company would be located “most likely in Texas.” TikTok currently has offices in Los Angeles.

TikTok, Oracle and Walmart did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Trump administration, which has taken a tougher line on China as the election approaches, has scrutinized TikTok for months over concerns about its Chinese ownership. The situation intensified in early August, when Mr. Trump said he would ban TikTok and issued an executive order essentially mandating that ByteDance strike a deal to sell the app’s U.S. operations by Sept. 20.

A second executive order set a later deadline for ByteDance to fully divest from the product.

The orders pushed ByteDance to jump-start discussions that had already been underway with potential bidders about TikTok’s ownership structure. Microsoft, Walmart and Oracle were among the companies that entered talks about acquiring TikTok’s U.S. business.

The situation was further complicated last month, after Beijing introduced new restrictions that appeared to essentially ban the sale of TikTok’s valuable video recommendation algorithm without a license, making an outright acquisition of TikTok by an American company harder to pull off.

This month, Microsoft said its offer to buy TikTok had been rejected. Instead, ByteDance selected Oracle as a technology partner for TikTok’s American business.

The arrangement has drawn skepticism from some prominent Washington critics of China’s influence over the technology industry. A group of Republican senators, led by Marco Rubio of Florida, said in a letter on Wednesday that a “trusted partnership deal” was “insufficient in achieving the goals of protecting Americans and U.S. interests.

Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, said in a speech this past week that scrutiny of technology companies must be done “honestly.” And he said that the “haphazard actions on TikTok fail that test and will only invite retaliation against American companies.”

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