Overnight Tech: Dems concerned about Charter-Time Warner Cable merger

LEDE: Democratic concerns over the Charter-Time Warner Cable deal are growing.

"It is critical that the DOJ and FCC thoroughly address all of the potential harms a Charter-Time Warner Cable-Bright House Networks deal would bring to the telecommunications marketplace and consumers and act to prevent any possible harm," five progressive senators wrote in a letter delivered to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Thursday.

It was signed by Sens. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyParnas pressure grows on Senate GOP Sanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial MORE (D-Mass.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenBill Press: Don't forget about Amy Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far Al Franken mocks McConnell: 'Like listening to Jeffrey Dahmer complain about the decline of dinner party etiquette' MORE (D-Minn.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersNYT editorial board endorses Warren, Klobuchar for Democratic nomination for president Trump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Biden breaks away from 2020 pack in South Carolina MORE (I-Vt.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' Lawmakers call for FTC probe into top financial data aggregator Overnight Health Care: Progressives raise red flags over health insurer donations | Republican FTC commish backs Medicare negotiating drug prices | Trump moves to protect money for religious groups MORE (D-Ore.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenNYT editorial board endorses Warren, Klobuchar for Democratic nomination for president Trump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Biden breaks away from 2020 pack in South Carolina MORE (D-Mass.). Sanders is fighting former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNYT editorial board endorses Warren, Klobuchar for Democratic nomination for president Sanders v. Warren is just for insiders Alan Dershowitz: Argument president cannot be impeached for abusing power a 'strong one' MORE for the Democratic nomination for president.

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In it, they raise concerns that the post-merger version of Charter would, along with Comcast, have a duopoly over the cable market. That's a key argument of the public interest groups that oppose the deal. The lawmakers also raise concerns about the merger's effect on video services and ask whether Charter's debt would make it impossible for the firm to fulfill the commitments they've made as part of the merger.

In a statement, Charter noted Netflix's support for the merger as well as backing from multicultural organizations and programmers. "These parties have taken a close and honest look at the benefits of these transactions and have all come to the same conclusion: these transactions are in the public interest," the company said in its statement.

OTHERS ASK FOR CLOSE REVIEW: The progressives' message comes a week after Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenators are politicians, not jurors — they should act like it Sens. Kaine, Lee: 'We should not be at war with Iran unless Congress authorizes it' Overnight Defense: War powers fight runs into impeachment | Kaine has 51 votes for Iran resolution | Trump plans to divert .2B from Pentagon to border wall MORE (R-Utah) and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharNYT editorial board endorses Warren, Klobuchar for Democratic nomination for president Sanders v. Warren is just for insiders Buttigieg to attend MLK Day event in South Carolina after facing criticism MORE (D-Minn.) sent Lynch and Wheeler a letter asking them to "closely review" the transaction, which would combine Charter with Time Warner Cable as well as smaller operator Bright House Networks. Both messages come more than halfway through the non-binding "shot clock" that governs the process.

APPLE EXPECTS ROBUST SUPPORT IN COURT: During a conference call announcing Apple's new motion to oppose a government order to help law enforcement unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, an Apple executive said the company expects robust filings in favor of Apple's position. Just hours earlier, Microsoft announced that it would be filing a brief next week, while other companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook and Twitter are reportedly also planning filings. 

'GOVT-OS' WOULD TAKE WEEKS: In the company's court filing, Apple estimated that it would take 6-10 Apple engineers anywhere from two weeks to a month to create the software that the FBI requested, which it has dubbed "GovtOs" -- a system what would override some security features on the iPhone's lock screen so that the FBI could try an unlimited amount of number combinations to unlock phones. 

PRES CANDIDATES SIGN ONTO NET NEUTRALITY REPEAL BILL: GOP Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioApple under pressure to unlock Pensacola shooter's phones Senators offer bill to create alternatives to Huawei in 5G tech Surging Sanders draws fresh scrutiny ahead of debate MORE (Fla.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSunday shows - All eyes on Senate impeachment trial Cruz: Hearing from witnesses could extend Senate trial to up to 8 weeks Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial MORE (Texas) were among a group of eight that signed onto a new bill that would repeal the FCC's net neutrality rules and prevent the agency from writing similar ones in the future.

FCC #TBT: Tomorrow is the first anniversary of the adoption of the FCC's net neutrality rules. The rules, of course, have been challenged in court and the subject of countless op-eds and speeches in Washington since they were adopted.

ON TAP: 

At 10 a.m., the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on 3D printing.

At noon, Republican FCC commissioner Ajit Pai will speak about net neutrality rules at the Heritage Foundation. 

At noon, the Washington Institute will speak with Facebook's Monika Bickert about Internet security in the age of the Islamic State

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: 

To mark the one-year anniversary of passage of net neutrality rules, a group of eight Republicans introduced legislation to repeal the regulations. 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is ordering his company's employees to stop crossing out the phrase "Black Lives Matter" on the company's famous signature wall.

Former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderParties to wage census battle with outside groups Welcome to third-world democracy and impeachment Uber settles sexual harassment charges for .4 million MORE used the birth name of basketball icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as an alias for his official Justice Department email account, according to new documents revealed Thursday.

A House panel on Thursday approved a bill that would temporarily keep small businesses exempt from some net neutrality rules.

Political upstart Ro Khanna tried to paint eight-term Rep. Mike Honda as ineffective and out of touch with his Silicon Valley district in 2014. Honda survived the challenge, but only barely.