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Radio News: Trump denies involvement in AT&T/Time Warner merger

Nov 12, 2017 10:05 pm
Chas Danner reports in New York Magazine that on Nov. 11, President Donald Trump claimed that he has nothing to do with the Justice Department’s handling of the $85.4 billion AT&T–Time Warner merger. Several reports recently have said that to get the deal approved, Time Warner would have to sell off Turner Broadcasting, the parent company of his news nemesis CNN. “I didn’t make that decision,” Trump said on Air Force One, “it was made by a man who’s a very respected person — a very, very respected person.” The president was probably referring to DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim, who informed AT&T last week that the government would sue to block the merger unless Time Warner sold off some assets due to anti-competition concerns. Trump has been an ongoing critic of CNN and said near the end of last year’s presidential campaign that the merger was, “a deal we will not approve in my administration because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few” and that it was “an example of the power structure I’m fighting.” In January, Bloomberg reported that a Trump source said he was against the merger, in part, because of his frustration with CNN’s coverage of him. “I did make a comment as to what I think,” Trump said Nov. 11, and “you should have as many news outlets as you can — especially since so many are fake.... I didn’t make a statement on it, but I made that statement long before at the very early part. So we’ll see how that — it will probably end up being maybe litigation, maybe not. We’ll see how it all plays out.” The Wall Street Journal reported that senior White House adviser Jared Kushner and Trump son-in-law, met a top executive at Time Warner earlier this year to complain about CNN’s coverage of the Trump campaign. Last year Delrahim said that he didn’t see the merger, “as a major antitrust problem.” In July, a senior Trump official told The New York Times that White House advisers had discussed using the merger as leverage to pressure CNN for more favorable coverage.