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Did the Deep State Sandbag President Trump with the Huawei Arrest?

President Donald Trump at the white house

The Washington Post reports today: "An unnamed senior U.S. official with direct knowledge of the matter told The Washington Post last week that Trump learned of the arrest [of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou] only after the meal had concluded and reacted with intense anger." The Washington Post may not be the most reliable source on internal matters of the Trump administration, but the story rings true -- and it is frightening. On Dec. 6, I conjectured in Asia Times that the president's enemies set him up. It's looking more and more like a Deep State operation against the president.

The United States took the utterly unprecedented step of arranging the arrest of a prominent Chinese national in another country, namely Canada, over sanctions violations, which until now have been addressed with economic penalties, and attempting to extradite the Chinese national to face criminal charges in the United States. And the person in question is the daughter of the founder of Huawei, one of China's most prominent business leaders. Nobody told the president as he sat down to negotiate with Xi Jinping? That doesn't wash.

National Security Adviser John Bolton earlier this week told National Public Radio that he knew of the arrest, which occurred the same day that President Trump dined with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Buenos Aires, and said he didn't know whether the president knew:

All right. Did the president know in advance that this arrest was coming?

You know, I don't know the answer to that. I knew in advance, but this is something that's, 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.

OK. So you knew at that dinner then over the weekend with China's president that this arrest was taking place?

Well, you know, there are a lot of things that are pending in any given time. You don't know exactly what's going to happen in terms of a particular law enforcement action, that depends on a lot of other circumstances.

That is all the more astonishing considering that Bolton told NPR that the arrest was NOT simply a law enforcement matter, but directly related to our trade issues with China:

NPR: What is the message that is sent by the arrest of Meng Wanzhou?

National security adviser John Bolton: Well, I'd rather not get into the specifics of law enforcement matters but, but we've had enormous concern for years about ... 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 really as arms of the Chinese government's objectives in terms of information technology in particular. 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 be a major subject of the negotiations that President Trump and President Xi Jinping agreed on in Buenos Aires.

This had been understood to involve Huawei 's dealings with Iran in some fashion. Are you saying that's not correct?

Well, I think the violations of the Iran sanctions are certainly of major concern to the Trump administration. It's one of his signature policies and I think that applies on a global basis. But with respect to a number of Chinese companies, we saw what happened with ZTE some months ago and many other issues of concern like that. And I think, as I say, as the negotiations proceed I think we're gonna see a lot about what Chinese companies have done to steal intellectual property, to hack into the computer systems, not just of the U.S. government, although they've done that, but into private companies as well.