Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling on President Trump to block the sale of a company founded by ousted White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, along with most other major Chinese investment in the U.S.
Schumer said in a letter to Trump on Tuesday that he should block most major Chinese investments in the U.S., and an aide to Schumer said that would include the pending sale of Scaramucci's Skybridge Capital to a Chinese group.
But Schumer's aide stressed that Schumer's move is not meant to target Scaramucci.
"[T]hat's not the motivating factor," Schumer spokesman Matt House told the Washington Examiner. "It's about China, not Skybridge."
Scaramucci sold Skybridge Capital just before starting work in the Trump administration, although he was let go just 10 days after his hiring was announced, and just five days after he started work. The sale, however, is reportedly being reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., which has the power to block foreign acquisitions if they are deemed to pose a threat to national security.
Schumer, D-N.Y., thinks stopping China from buying up U.S. assets could aid the effort to stop North Korea's nuclear weapons program. China has provided economic lifelines to the pariah regime for decades, despite international sanctions and protests from Trump's team, which is why Schumer wants CFIUS to shut down these sales.
"The robust China-North Korea economic and trade relationship makes it clear that China could exercise considerable leverage over the North Korean regime to alter course, but that far from trying to do so China's leaders would prefer to contain the problem – not solve it," Schumer wrote in his letter to Trump.
North Korea emerged as a top national security threat early in Trump's presidency, as a spate of ballistic missile tests raised the prospect of the regime acquiring the ability to strike the United States. That threat took on additional urgency on July 4, when North Korea demonstrated for the first time the ability to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile. Even so, China has resisted U.S. efforts to deprive North Korea of international sources of funding.
"I am very disappointed in China," Trump tweeted on Saturday. "Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk."
Schumer suggested that blocking Chinese companies from investing in the United States would frustrate the government, which increasingly subsidizes such deals.
"[M]ajor foreign investments in the U.S. from China are increasingly tied to state interests," he said in the letter. "While the U.S. should remain open to foreign investment, the security threat posed by China's continued trade arrangements with North Korea justifies suspending approval of all CFIUS covered transactions where Chinese entities could gain a controlling interest."