Key GOP chairman calls for 'robust review' of AT&T-Time Warner deal

Key GOP chairman calls for 'robust review' of AT&T-Time Warner deal
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The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is joining the chorus of lawmakers calling for federal regulators to closely review the proposed sale of Time Warner to AT&T.

“This is the biggest deal of the year, combining one of the nation’s largest telecommunications providers with a media and entertainment giant,” Iowa Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Health Care: Trump officials defend changes to family planning program | Senators unveil bipartisan package on health costs | Democrats pass T spending bill with HHS funds Overnight Health Care: Trump officials defend changes to family planning program | Senators unveil bipartisan package on health costs | Democrats pass T spending bill with HHS funds Grassley announces opposition to key Trump proposal to lower drug prices MORE (R) said in a statement Monday. “It’s imperative that the antitrust regulators conduct a robust review of the proposed acquisition.”

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He pledged that the committee would hold a hearing “to examine the impact on competition and consumers.”

Earlier in the day, the committee’s ranking Democrat, Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyHouse Democrats close to finalizing border aid bill House Democrats close to finalizing border aid bill Senate panel approves .5B for Trump's border request MORE, also called for a hearing on the issue. The Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee is already planning to hold a hearing on the transaction.

The deal, which is valued at $85.4 billion, would combine Time Warner’s media assets — including HBO and CNN — with the vast network of AT&T. Skeptics worry that the telecom company could privilege its own content over content produced by other companies.

The deal will be scrutinized by the Justice Department and, depending on the final terms, the Federal Communications Commission.

Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats bristle as Hicks appears for daylong Capitol Hill testimony Democrats bristle as Hicks appears for daylong Capitol Hill testimony Trump: 'So sad' Democrats are putting Hope Hicks 'through hell' MORE’s campaign has expressed concerns about the deal. Her Republican rival, Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBooker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Booker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Trump says Democrats are handing out subpoenas 'like they're cookies' MORE, has gone further, using the deal to push his criticisms of journalism and media consolidation. 

“AT&T, the original and abusive ‘Ma Bell’ telephone monopoly, is now trying to buy Time Warner and thus the wildly anti-Trump CNN,” said Peter Navarro, a senior economic adviser to Trump’s campaign, in a statement this weekend. “Donald Trump would never approve such a deal because it concentrates too much power in the hands of the too and powerful few."