On Monday, TikTok and one of its employees separately sued Trump’s administration over his executive order banning transaction in the United States with the popular short-form video sharing app, calling it a pretext to fuel anti-China rheotic as he seeks re-election.
In a blog post, TikTok said “We do not take suing the government lightly. But with the Executive order threatening to bring a ban on our US operations, we simply have no choice.”
A technical program manager at tiktok, Patric Ryan, sued the Trump administration over concerns that he and his 1,500 colleagues including many on employment visas, will lose their jobs next month if Trump’s order is enforced.
Alex Urbelis, a lawyer representing Ryan in the lawsuit in San Francisco federal court, said the order suffered from unconstitutional vagueness and deprived TikTok employees of due process.
The White House referred a request for comment to the US Departmental of Justice, which declined to comment on the company’s lawsuit and did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Ryan’s case.
ByteDance and TikTok are seeking a permanent injunction to block Trump from enforcing his august 6 order. They allege the Trump administration violated their constitutional right to due process by banning the company without opportunity to respond to accusations. They also allege that Trump lacked proper legal authority to issue the order, saying he misused the international Emergency Economic Powers Act, which lets the president regulate international commerce during a national emergency.
In may 2019, Trump had invoked that law to stop alleged efforts by foreign telecommunications companies to conduct economic and industrial espionage against the US.
Trump had complained for weeks that TikTok was a national security threat that might share information about users with the Chinese Government. August 6 executive order called for banning transactions with the app after 45 days.
Trump also issued a separate executive order on Aug 14 giving ByteDance 90 days to divest TikTok’s US operations and any data TikTok had gathered in the US.
CFIUS later opened an investigation and on July 30 issued a letter stating it found national security risks associated with the purchase. But it repeatedly refused to engage with ByteDance proposals to address concerns, including a nonbinding letter of intent to sell to Microsoft presented earlier July 30 according to the lawsuit.