TOWNHALL EXCLUSIVE: National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien on China, TikTok, Iran, and John Bolton

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Posted: Jul 13, 2020 1:05 PM
TOWNHALL EXCLUSIVE: National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien on China, TikTok, Iran, and John Bolton

Source: Townhall Media

PARIS, FRANCE -- I am on the ground covering National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien's official visit to the capital city of America's oldest ally. O'Brien will represent President Trump at Bastille Day celebrations on Tuesday, which will be dramatically scaled back this year due to coronavirus, and will meet with his national security counterparts from France, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom:


In an exclusive one-on-one interview aboard the plane widely known as "Air Force Two" en route to Paris, I asked Amb. O'Brien about a host of issues, ranging from the Trump administration's objectives for this trip, to China, Russia, Iran, and the firestorm over the scathing tell-all book published by his immediate predecessor, John Bolton. Here is our full discussion, followed by a partial transcript below:

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On the US potentially granting asylum to besieged citizens of Hong Kong:

I want to commend [UK] Prime Minister [Boris] Johnson on stepping up on behalf of the UK. There are up to 2.7 million people that were either born, or had parents who were born in Hong Kong, at a time when Hong Kong was a British territory. And so for Boris Johnson to open up the UK is really a commendable action. It's great for the UK...these people, as the president likes to say, 'they're smart as heck and they work hard'...even if they get a small number of the 2.7 million who are eligible to come obtain British citizenship, that's going to be a giant economic shot in the arm for the UK...President Trump would like to have some of those folks come to America and he announced that on June 6th, when he talked about Hong Kong. We're going to be looking for opportunities to give asylum, and I think you'll hear more about that from the State Department very soon.

On the possibility of the US government banning Chinese social media apps like TikTok:

The number one thing to the kids who are using TikTok -- and it can be a lot of fun -- but there are a lot of other social media platforms they can use. TikTok is getting facial recognition on you. They're getting all of your personal private data, your most intimate data. They're getting to know who your friends are, who your parents are, they can map all your relationships. And all of that information is going straight to massive supercomputers and the cloud in China, so China's going to know everything about you...We're looking at not just TikTok but WeChat and some of the other Chinese apps because the Chinese are voracious consumers of our personal data. They'll either try to get you to give it to them for free through WeChat or TikTok; if they can't get it that way, they'll steal it...so this isn't just an advertiser trying to find out your interests and what you're searching for on Google so they can sell you a different brand of car. This is a country that's trying to get every bit of personal and private information they can so they know everything about you....so we're very seriously taking a look at TikTok, WeChat, and some of those other apps. India has already banned those apps, as you know, and if [the Chinese] lose India, lose the United States, they lose some Western European countries, that takes a big tool away from their espionage -- the surveillance work of the CCP.  

On a series of mysterious recent explosions inside Iran:

The one thing we know is that Iran is attempting to obtain a nuclear weapon...the one thing that I will say is that President Trump made it very clear that Iran will never have a nuclear weapon as long as he's president of the United States.

On John Bolton's allegations against President Trump in a much-discussed new book:

Rather than focus on gossip and salacious books and things of that nature, I urge people to look at the results that the president has achieved, and they've been great for the country...I think there's litigation pending with respect to the book. All I can tell you is that I wouldn't write that type of a book, given the position that I hold right now. Maybe that goes to my background as a lawyer and the belief that we need to hold confidence -- confidence is sacred especially when classified and top secret information is at stake. So it's not the type of book that I would write, but I'll leave to the Justice Department their case with Amb. Bolton.

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