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 ConyersDemocrats seek cosponsors for new 'Medicare for all' bill Virginia scandals pit Democrats against themselves and their message Women's March plans 'Medicare for All' day of lobbying in DC MORE Jr. (Mich), and David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineForeign Affairs chairman: US military intervention in Venezuela 'not an option' Greedy tort bar tarts up the CREATES Act Whitaker takes grilling from House lawmakers MORE (R.I.), urged committee chairman Rep. Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteIt’s time for Congress to pass an anti-cruelty statute DOJ opinion will help protect kids from dangers of online gambling House GOP probe into FBI, DOJ comes to an end 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.