The arrest was made on the same day that Trump and Xi met for dinner amid high-level trade and national security talks in Buenos Aires. An unnamed senior U.S. official with direct knowledge of the matter told The Washington Post last week that Trump learned of the arrest only after the meal had concluded and reacted with intense anger.
Kudlow agreed that Trump did not know about the arrest at the time but said he was not angry on learning about it after the dinner.
“He did not know,” Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday.” “He did not know, and he had no reaction afterward. . . . He didn’t know. I’ll just state that unequivocally. He learned way later.”
The arrest is seen as threatening a resolution to the U.S.-China trade war.
Asked whether he could guarantee that Meng will not be released as a negotiating tactic, Kudlow said no.
“I can’t guarantee anything,” he said. “This is a DOJ, NSC, law enforcement issue,” referring to the Justice Department and the National Security Council.
“I don’t know how it’s going to turn out . . . It seems to me that there’s a trade lane . . . and there’s a law enforcement lane. They’re different . . . They’re different channels, and I think they will be viewed that way for quite some time.”
Kudlow played down the confusion that emerged from the talks in Buenos Aires.
“When you piece it together, Chris, there are a lot of good things out there, and I think sometimes it gets lost in the shuffle,” he told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace. “China’s commerce department issued some very positive, promising statements.”