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 GrassleyTrump administration to impose tariffs on French products in response to digital tax Big Ten moves to conference-only model for all fall sports Republicans considering an outdoor stadium for Florida convention: report 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 LeahyFinger-pointing, gridlock spark frustration in Senate Data shows seven Senate Democrats have majority non-white staffs Senate panel advances bill targeting online child sexual abuse 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 ClintonTrump confirms 2018 US cyberattack on Russian troll farm Hillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok Biden campaign hires top cybersecurity officials to defend against threats MORE’s campaign has expressed concerns about the deal. Her Republican rival, Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' Trump confirms 2018 US cyberattack on Russian troll farm Trump tweets his support for Goya Foods amid boycott 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."