WASHINGTON, Sept 28 (Reuters) – A Republican lawmaker is calling on the Biden administration to provide communications between the White House and the Justice Department, after the near-simultaneous release of a top executive at China’s Huawei and two Canadians held by Beijing spurred questions of political meddling in Washington.
On Friday, Huawei (HWT.UL)
Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou flew home to China from Canada after reaching an agreement with U.S. prosecutors to end the bank fraud case against her, a point of tension between China and the United States.
Within hours of news of the deal, the two Canadians who were arrested shortly after Meng was taken into custody were released from Chinese jails and were on their way back to Canada.
On Monday, the White House denied that the moves constituted a prisoner swap, with press secretary Jen Psaki instead describing Meng’s deal as an action taken by an independent Department of Justice.
But on Tuesday, U.S. Representative Jim Banks sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland asking for all communications between the White House, State and Justice departments since President Joe Biden took office, raising questions of interference in the case against Meng.
“You told the Senate Judiciary Committee that you would protect the integrity of the Justice Department from political influences,” he wrote. “But this sequence has left me wondering if the White House and State Department interfered in this prosecution case. To what extent was the decision to let Meng go influenced by politics?”
The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Dan Grebler
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