Rubio calls for Justice Department to probe TikTok CEO over alleged perjury
Rubio also said the TikTok CEO's alleged perjury further supports that TikTok "is a powerful tool of espionage."
Sen. Marco Rubio asked the Justice Department to probe TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew for allegedly perjuring himself after he testified to the House under oath that data of American TikTok users was not stored in China even though reports have found otherwise.
"Chew should be held accountable for making false statements about material facts related to TikTok’s operation, as he appears to have done in this case," Rubio, a Florida Republican, wrote in a letter last week to Attorney General Merrick Garland.
"I therefore request that you investigate whether Chew committed perjury when he falsely stated that TikTok has not stored the user data of Americans in China and urge you to be transparent with the American people about the threats posed by TikTok."
Rubio cited a Forbes report published May 30 – more than a month after Chew's testimony – as reason for why the Justice Department needed to conduct a perjury investigation. That article states that for years, TikTok has stored the social security numbers and tax IDs of U.S. citizens and businesses on servers in China that employees can access there.
TikTok and its parent company ByteDance did not respond to questions about how many people have access to the sensitive financial information or whether the data is still being stored in China.
During his testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Chew had denied under oath that TikTok stored data from American users in China.
Rubio also said Chew's alleged perjury further supports that TikTok "is a powerful tool of espionage and influence for the [Chinese Communist Party] and should be banned."