AT&T wants to probe Trump's role in Time Warner merger: report

AT&T wants to probe Trump's role in Time Warner merger: report
© Greg Nash

AT&T reportedly wants to investigate if the White House influenced the Justice Department's review of its merger with Time Warner should the pending deal fail.

Sources told Bloomberg that AT&T will seek court approval to access communications between the Justice Department (DOJ) and the White House if the administration sues to block the deal.

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The DOJ could file a lawsuit to block the $85 billion deal if it can’t reach an agreement with AT&T. The agency’s struggles in approving the deal have sparked concern that President Trump, who has been critical of Time Warner subsidiary CNN, has pushed officials to block the deal.

Trump said on the campaign trail that if elected he would seek to block the merger.

DOJ sources recently said that antitrust officials rejected an offer from AT&T to spin off CNN to get approval for the deal, an offer that AT&T officials denied was ever made.

Others are also wary of potential White House interference with the deal.

On Tuesday, two top Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee, Reps. John ConyersJohn James ConyersAbortion-rights group endorses Nadler in race to replace Conyers on Judiciary Democrats turn on Al Franken Michigan state senator to run for Congress MORE Jr. (Mich), and David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineOvernight Tech: FCC won't delay net neutrality vote | Google pulls YouTube from Amazon devices | Biden scolds social media firms over transparency Overnight Regulation: Senate tax bill to include ObamaCare mandate repeal | Sessions sidesteps questions on WH influence on AT&T merger | Dems seek more transparency on student borrower rule AT&T wants to probe Trump's role in Time Warner merger: report MORE (R.I.), urged committee chairman Rep. Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteRosenstein to testify before House Judiciary Committee next week Conservative pressure on Sessions grows Clock ticking down on NSA surveillance powers MORE (R-Va.) to hold a hearing exploring this.

The White House and Makan Delrahim, the DOJ’s antitrust chief, have both denied that the administration has tried to play a role in the merger review.

The White House is generally expected to be impartial in the DOJ’s and other agencies’ approval of pending mergers.

Experts anticipate that, barring political motivations, the merger will be approved in step with other vertical mergers which consolidate companies that operate in different markets.