New WeChat Rules Kill Injunction Arguments, U.S. Tells Judge
(Bloomberg) — Trump administration lawyers told a judge weighing whether to block an executive order banning the Chinese-owned WeChat app that new Commerce Department guidance issued Friday “reinforces” arguments against an injunction.
U.S. users of WeChat who sued over President Donald Trump’s order argued in court this week that it’s too vague. Lawyers for the administration said that argument no longer carried any weight.
The plaintiffs “cannot continue to complain of vagueness,” the U.S. said Friday in a notice to the court. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, the notice says, “has now defined the prohibitions” and confirmed that U.S. users of WeChat can’t be penalized for personal use of the app.
U.S. WeChat users “can have no reasonable claim that their speech is ‘chilled’ when their speech is not subject to criminal or civil penalties,” the government said in the filing.
Read More: U.S. Curbs WeChat Transfers, Limits TikTok App As of Sunday
The administration has said the ban is driven by national security concerns about the Chinese government’s ability to access data through the app. In Friday’s filing, U.S. lawyers cited an opinion piece published in The New York Times on Thursday which called Chinese plans for WeChat and other apps “much more sinister” than even Trump believed.
The case is U.S. WeChat Users Alliance v. Trump, 3:20-cv-5910, U.S. District Court, District of Northern California (San Francisco).
(Updates with details from the U.S.’s notice to the court.)
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