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 GrassleyThe Hill's Morning Report - Democratic debates: Miami nice or spice? Senate Finance leaders in talks on deal to limit drug price increases Million-dollar drugs pose new challenge for Congress 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 LeahyOvernight Defense: Trump says he doesn't need exit strategy with Iran | McConnell open to vote on Iran war authorization | Senate panel advances bill to restrict emergency arms sales Senate panel advances bill to restrict emergency arms sales Negotiators face major obstacles to meeting July border deadline 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 Clinton5 things to watch in the Democratic debates Democrats leery of Sanders plan to cancel student loan debt Mellman: Are primary debates different? MORE’s campaign has expressed concerns about the deal. Her Republican rival, Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump campaign buys full page ads in Miami newspapers ahead of Dem debates Trump administration's 'forced diplomacy' with Iran isn't working Roy Moore trails Republican field in Alabama 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."