As the deadline looms for Chinese technology company ByteDance to sell off its popular video platform TikTok to an American company, sources familiar with negotiations have told Fox Business' Liz Claman that the battle between Microsoft and Oracle is a “tighter horse race that, for now, Microsoft has by a nose."
Director of trade and manufacturing policy Peter Navarro, however, did not confirm or deny any new information related to the negotiations, only telling the "Claman Countdown" on Wednesday that the Trump administration is doing everything in its power to prevent whoever buys TikTok from handing over Americans' data to the Chinese government.
"The one thing we want to be sure of, and we will be sure of in this administration, is that whoever buys it will not be able to transfer data from American soil to Chinese servers," Navarro said. "That’s the full stop."
While Microsoft continues to appear to be the top bidder, the company has recently come under scrutiny for its close relationship with China, which Navarro noted as a major difference from competitor Oracle with respect to national security.
"If you look at Microsoft versus Oracle, I think the one thing that separates the two companies with respect to national security is that Microsoft has a very large footprint in China. Its software is used by the People’s Liberation Army, by the Chinese Communist Party. Bing, its internet server, is the only American one that’s over there," Navarro said. "Oracle, on the other hand, has a strong reputation of really putting a great firewall between its operations and China."
Despite saying Oracle could handle TikTok earlier this month, President Trump has not publicly expressed favoritism for one company over the other, just that the deal needs to be made with a "very American company."
Navarro claims the administration's problem with TikTok is about a "massive tsunami of data that they pickup from the American people" getting into the wrong hands and less about the app itself.
However, TikTok has repeatedly denied the claim and it filed a 39-page lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California claiming the administration's order violates free speech and is simply part of a "broader campaign of anti-China rhetoric" ahead of the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election.
They also argue that the White Hosue has presented no hard evidence of data sharing.
Navarro's comments come with just 20 days to go before the lights will go out for TikTok on September 15 if no agreement is put in place.