Trump should reconsider ZTE deal, urge Republican and Democratic senators

Sen. Mark Warner and Sen. Marco Rubio agree that ZTE poses a national security threat.

Sean Hollister Senior Editor / Reviews
When his parents denied him a Super NES, he got mad. When they traded a prize Sega Genesis for a 2400 baud modem, he got even. Years of Internet shareware, eBay'd possessions and video game testing jobs after that, he joined Engadget. He helped found The Verge, and later served as Gizmodo's reviews editor. When he's not madly testing laptops, apps, virtual reality experiences, and whatever new gadget will supposedly change the world, he likes to kick back with some games, a good Nerf blaster, and a bottle of Tejava.
Sean Hollister

The ZTE Axon M, a dual-screen phone.

Josh Miller/CNET

Individually, US Sens. Mark Warner and Marco Rubio have each been critical of Trump's deal with ZTE, which abruptly saved the Chinese telecommunications company from potential ruin by lifting a US ban.

But now, they've joined forces to pressure the commander-in-chief, in a new letter you can read below.

"We strongly believe that the April sanctions order -- which would have threatened ZTE's survival -- should not be used as a bargaining chip in negotiations with China on unrelated matters," the letter reads, saying that "ZTE poses a significant threat to our national security."

It goes on to point out how top US intelligence leaders have testified that they believe ZTE (and fellow Chinese company Huawei) pose a threat. You can read our story from February about that.

ZTE was on the brink of going out of business after the US Commerce Department imposed a ban on US selling products and services to the company. That mean access to core parts of Google's Android, as well as components from the likes of Qualcomm and Texas Instruments. The Commerce Department levied the punishment as a result of ZTE failing to properly punish its executives for selling products to Iran and North Korea. 

The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.