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Radio News: AT&T challenges Trump over Time Warner merger

Feb 19, 2018 10:50 pm
The Washington Post reports that AT&T argued in court last week that President Donald Trump's hatred of CNN had him use the Justice Department to block their acquisition of Time Warner. AT&T lawyers demanded that the Justice Department turn over evidence to prove Trump did not wield political influence over the agency to quash the $85 billion merger. In a pre-trial court hearing before a federal judge, AT&T demanded "log[s] of any conversations that may have transpired between the White House and Attorney General Jeff Sessions pertaining to AT&T's... merger." The Department of Justice has sued AT&T to block the deal between a major distribution company and a massive content creator. "If there's something there, then it's incumbent on us" to uncover the details, said AT&T's lawyer, Daniel Petrocelli. "We would at least be entitled to have the court view the documents if they exist." Trump has repeatedly criticized CNN, calling it fake news, and giving it a fake news award. But, before he was president, he also was publicly against the AT&T/Time Warner merger. Department of Justice lawyers say that early opposition to the deal is just like what Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, said, and so AT&T has no justification to receive the materials it is asking of the court. UPDATE: U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled Feb. 20 against AT&T, denying their request for the Department of Justice to produce logs about conversations with the White House about AT&T's proposed merger with Time Warner. "Defendants have fallen far short of establishing that this enforcement action was selective—that is, that there 'exist persons similarly situated who have not been prosecuted,'" Leon wrote.