Pompeo, Mnuchin say no clash exists between them over China-related E.O., after WSJ report

A day after The Wall Street Journal published an exclusive report detailing a behind-the-scenes “clash” between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and their departments from people familiar with the matter over disagreements regarding a recent executive order barring Americans from investing in companies tied to China’s military complex, both stated Friday afternoon that there is no clash.

Both high-ranking Cabinet officials, in tweets posted one minute apart, wrote that that no clash exists between them and that they and their respective departments are working together on this executive order. On top of that, both tweets had near-identical messaging.

“There is no disagreement between @SecPompeo and me regarding the implementation of the President’s Executive Order,” wrote Mnuchin. “We are coordinating closely on an interagency basis.”

“There is no clash between Secretary @stevenmnuchin1 and me,” tweeted Pompeo a minute later. “We are simply working to resolve interagency mechanics of an important executive order.”

Starting back in November, the White House prohibited American investors from investing in 35 Chinese companies that the Pentagon has classified as aiding China’s defense, intelligence, and security apparatus.

“The U.S. government,” according to the Thursday Journal report, “is at odds over whether the blacklist should include subsidiaries of the companies. Another battlefront is over whether affiliates should be included. The question affects how much teeth the ban will have.”

State and Defense Department officials want the executive order to have the widest reach possible, whereas the Treasury Department wants the blacklist to only include the companies specifically flagged by the Pentagon, and not affiliates or subsidiaries, people familiar with the matter told The Journal.

As a result, this situation created by these disagreements pitted Pompeo and Mnuchin, as well as their respective departments, against each other. Particularly, the funding of Chinese state-tied companies by U.S. investors, Pompeo has said for a long time, threatens national security.

For more details about the dispute and the executive order, read the full original WSJ report from Thursday here.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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