Dems want Trump AT&T-Time Warner deal records

Dems want Trump AT&T-Time Warner deal records
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President Trump reportedly tried to block the AT<><><><><><><><><><><><>&T-Time Warner merger. Now Democrats on Capitol Hill want answers./ppIn letters sent Thursday to White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Department of Justice antitrust chief Makan Delrahim, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Rep. David Cicilline have requested “relevant documents and communications” involving Trump and other administration officials like former National Economic Council director Gary Cohn./ppEarlier this week, the New Yorker reported that Trump instructed Cohn to file a lawsuit blocking the merger, an allegation that Nadler and Cicilline noted in their letters./pp”We write to underscore our serious concerns regarding allegations that President Trump attempted to interfere with antitrust law enforcement,” the congressmen wrote./pp”As we have noted previously, White House interference in antitrust enforcement is unacceptable,” they continued. “Antitrust enforcement must be guided by the rule of law, not wielded as a political weapon to reward friends and punish enemies.”/ppThe White House and Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Justice Department has long denied that political animus played a role in its decision to sue./ppAT<><>T declined to comment./ppTrump’s potential involvement in the lawsuit has been the subject of intense speculation from the moment the DOJ sued to block the $85 billion merger in the fall of 2017, given his well-known antipathy toward CNN, which was included in AT<><>T’s acquisition, and his own public opposition to the deal./ppA federal judge ruled in favor of the merger last June and the DOJ was denied in its appeal last month, clearing the way for AT<><><><><><><>T to move full steam ahead with its newly acquired properties, which include HBO, CNN and TNT./ppThe speculation was re-ignited this week by the New Yorker’s explosive report, which said that Trump summoned Cohn into the Oval Office and complained that the government had not yet blocked the deal. Cohn resisted Trump’s pressure, according to the New Yorker./ppDemocrats responded to the report by indicating that they would probe Trump’s alleged involvement and, on Thursday, they followed through./pp”The reports of attempted political intervention into antitrust enforcement harkens to similar allegations during the Nixon Administration,” Nadler and Cicilline wrote, saying that “any effort to use the antitrust laws to censor, undermine, or retaliate against the press is a threat to the First Amendment and a vibrant democracy.”/p