Dem warns DOJ not to politicize AT&T-Time Warner review

Dem warns DOJ not to politicize AT&T-Time Warner review

A Democratic senator is warning the Justice Department that politics should play no role in their review of AT&T's proposed merger with Time Warner.

“Any political interference in antitrust enforcement is unacceptable,” Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharBiden signals tough stance on tech with antitrust picks Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill to hold platforms accountable for misinformation during health crises | Website outages hit Olympics, Amazon and major banks Competition laws could be a death knell for startup mergers and acquisitions MORE (D-Minn.) wrote in a letter to Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDemocrat stalls Biden's border nominee Garland strikes down Trump-era immigration court rule, empowering judges to pause cases Unsealed documents detail Trump and Biden efforts on reporter records MORE on Friday.

Klobuchar said her concern stemmed from a New York Times story on Wednesday which reported that White House advisers had discussed the merger as a “point of leverage” over CNN, which is owned by Time Warner.

President Trump has been feuding with the news network, accusing it of being unfair and labeling their coverage as "fake news."

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“This report is deeply troubling,” Klobuchar said. She added that while she has “raised serious questions” about the merger, “the transaction should be judged solely on its impact on competition, innovation, and consumers, not as ‘leverage’ for political gain.”

The merger, which would join one of the nation's telecom giants with an entertainment powerhouse, has attracted tough scrutiny from Washington.

Trump on the campaign trail said he would block the deal if elected, claiming it would concentrate too much power in one company. But in office, Trump has said he is undecided on the merger.

The Justice Department is conducting its review of the merger to determine if it violates antitrust laws.

During his confirmation hearing earlier this year, Sessions said he would not let external political considerations affect the department's decision.

In her letter on Friday, Klobuchar also expressed concern the White House could use the deal to restrict free speech.

“Even more concerning, in this instance, is that it appears that some advisers to the President may believe that it is appropriate for the government to use its law enforcement authority to alter or censor the press,” she wrote. “Such an action would violate the First Amendment.”