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 MarkeyKennedy, Markey spar over experience in first Senate primary debate The Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg to face off with rivals at Nevada debate Massachusetts Democrats question deployment of Border Patrol teams to sanctuary cities MORE (D-Mass.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenAl Franken blasts Susan Collins: She'll let Trump 'get away with anything' Bill Press: Don't forget about Amy Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far MORE (D-Minn.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersNevada Democratic debate draws record-breaking 19.7 million viewers 'Where's your spoon?' What we didn't learn in the latest debate Ocasio-Cortez defends Warren against 'misogynist trope' MORE (I-Vt.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenGraham: Trump has 'all the legal authority in the world' to pardon Stone Overnight Health Care: Senate panel to hold hearing on US coronavirus response | Dems demand Trump withdraw religious provider rule | Trump Medicaid proposal sparks bipartisan backlash Democrats demand Trump administration withdraw religious provider rule MORE (D-Ore.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren declines to disavow super PAC that supports her San Diego Union-Tribune endorses Buttigieg 'Where's your spoon?' What we didn't learn in the latest debate MORE (D-Mass.). Sanders is fighting former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton'Where's your spoon?' What we didn't learn in the latest debate The Hill's 12:30 Report: Roger Stone gets over three years in prison; Brutal night for Bloomberg Poll: Democrats trail Trump in Wisconsin, lead in Michigan and Pennsylvania 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 LeeThe Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' The 8 Republicans who voted to curb Trump's Iran war powers MORE (R-Utah) and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharWarren declines to disavow super PAC that supports her San Diego Union-Tribune endorses Buttigieg 'Where's your spoon?' What we didn't learn in the latest debate 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 RubioCheese, wine importers reeling from Trump trade fight Peace Corps' sudden decision to leave China stirs blowback Lawmakers raise concerns over Russia's growing influence in Venezuela MORE (Fla.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzPompeo to speak to influential Iowa GOP group Top National Security Council aide moved to Energy Department role Ted Cruz takes aim at Alabama vasectomy bill: 'Yikes' 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 HolderIf Roger Stone were a narco, he'd be in the clear Trump flexes pardon power with high-profile clemencies They forgot that under Trump, there are two sets of rules 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.