Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Wednesday appeared to defuse a threat from President Donald Trump to have multiple agencies probe Google for potential treason over the company's work in China.
He and Trump met with Google CEO Sundar Pichai this week, Mnuchin said, and came away assured the company does "very minimal" work in China.
“The president and I did diligence on this issue and we’re not aware of any areas where Google is working with the Chinese government that in any way raises concerns,” Mnuchin said during a wide-ranging interview on CNBC’s "Squawk Box." “Google is an American company that wants to help out the U.S.”
He and Trump met with Google CEO Sundar Pichai this week, Mnuchin said, and came away assured the company does "very minimal" work in China, limited to "open-source" efforts that don't raise national security concerns. Pichai was at the White House Monday to discuss a range of economic issues largely centered around China.
The president said last week that he may urge "various agencies, including perhaps our attorney general" to look into a "very strong charge" of treason raised by Peter Thiel, a prominent Trump booster and Facebook board member.
Thiel accused Google of "engag[ing] in the seemingly treasonous decision to work with the Chinese military and not with the US military," an apparent reference to the company pulling back on U.S. defense contracting while still pursuing business and research interests in China, whose government exercises tight control over businesses in the country.
Mnuchin also endorsed the Trump administration's antitrust probe of tech giants. He singled out Amazon, which, he said, "destroyed the retail industry across the United States."