Overnight Tech: Trump meets with AT&T, Google execs | Pompeo and Wyden battle | Dem's new House E&C roster

Overnight Tech: Trump meets with AT&T, Google execs | Pompeo and Wyden battle | Dem's new House E&C roster
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TRUMP MEETS WITH AT&T EXECS: Trump met with AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson and vice president for legislative affairs Robert Quinn at Trump Tower this morning as the company continues its push for its proposed $85.4 billion merger with Time Warner.

During a call with reporters after the meeting, Trump’s incoming press secretary Sean Spicer did not say whether the merger was discussed or if the president-elect was softening his stance against the deal.

A spokeswoman for AT&T told The Hill that the merger was not mentioned during the meeting.


Trump came out strongly against the merger when it was first announced in October, voicing populist concerns about the consolidation.

"As an example of the power structure I'm fighting, AT&T is buying Time Warner and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration because it's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few," Trump said in a campaign speech at the time.

Even as Trump renews his attacks on CNN, a subsidiary of Time Warner, it remains unclear whether he is willing to soften his stance on the merger as he surrounds himself with free-market conservatives for his administration.

Trump also met with Alphabet's Eric Schmidt for equally unclear reasons.

Read more here.

… AND CLAIMS CREDIT FOR AMAZON’S NEW JOBS: After Amazon announced that it would be adding 100,000 jobs, Spicer said on the press call that the company was influenced by the president-elect.

“The announcement was made after the president-elect met with the heads of several other tech companies and urged them to keep their jobs and production inside the United States,” Spicer said. “As you know, Jeff Bezos was an integral part of that and the president-elect was pleased to have played a role in that decision.

Amazon did not immediately respond when asked to comment.

“These jobs are not just in our Seattle headquarters or in Silicon Valley—they’re in our customer service network, fulfillment centers and other facilities in local communities throughout the country,” Bezos said in a statement announcing the expansion.

Read the full story here.

Please send your tips, comments and stray observations  to Ali Breland (abreland@thehill.com) and Harper Neidig (hneidig@thehill.com) and follow us on Twitter: @alibreland@hneidig  and @HilliconValley.

POMPEO AND WYDEN BATTLE: During his Senate Confirmation hearing for CIA Director today Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) spared with Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenGOP senator blocks Schumer resolution aimed at Biden probe as tensions run high Republican Senators raise concerns over Oracle-TikTok deal Hillicon Valley: TikTok, Oracle seek Trump's approval as clock winds down | Hackers arrested for allegedly defacing U.S. websites after death of Iranian general | 400K people register to vote on Snapchat MORE (D-Ore.) on civil liberties and tech issues. Pompeo defended against the government collecting things like public social media postings, which Wyden had lambasted him for.

“I don’t take a backseat to anybody in terms of protecting this country when our security is on the line,” Wyden said during the hearing. “That’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about your interest in setting up a whole new metadata collection system.”

Read Katie Bo’s full story on the hearing here.

HOUSE DEMS ANNOUNCE E&C SUBCOMMITTEE ROSTERS: House Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone Jr. announced the Democratic subcommittee assignments. Most notable is Rep. Mike Doyle (Pa.) taking over as the top Democrat on the communications and technology subcommittee, replacing Rep. Anna Eshoo (Calif.). The rest of the subcommittee’s minority will consist of Reps. Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchShakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' Vermont Rep. Peter Welch easily wins primary Vermont has a chance to show how bipartisanship can tackle systemic racism MORE (Vt.), Yvette Clarke (N.Y.), David Loebsack (Iowa), Raul Ruiz (Calif.), Debbie Dingell (Mich.) Bobby Rush (Ill.), Eshoo, Eliot Engel (N.Y.), G.K. ButterfieldGeorge (G.K.) Kenneth ButterfieldCongress must protect kidney disease patients during the COVID-19 pandemic The time for HELP is now: Senate should pass bill to expedite recovery following natural disasters Rep. Clyburn on Confederate statues: Mob action is no answer MORE (N.C.), Doris Matsui (Calif.) and Jerry McNerney (Calif.).

WHEELER’S PRAISE: The outgoing Chairman had kind words for Eshoo and her time as Subcommittee ranking member and welcomed Doyle to the spot. “From ensuring that networks remain free and open, to advancing the cause of unlicensed spectrum, to advocating on behalf of competitors, Anna has left an indelible mark on US technology policy.  It has been an honor to work with her,” Wheeler said.

“Congressman Doyle has been a great leader on the vital telecommunications and tech issues facing our country,” he added.

RECORD FINE: The FCC’s $100 million fine of Straight Path Communications for failing to deploy a wireless service could be one of the biggest settlements the agency has ever reached. The settlement stipulates that Straight Path pay a $15 million civil penalty upfront and surrender 20 percent of its 5G license and another $85 million if they don’t sell their remaining licenses. 20 percent of the money earned from license sales will go to the U.S. Treasury as further penalty.  

“Squatting on spectrum licenses without any meaningful effort to put them to good use in a timely manner is fundamentally inconsistent with the public good,” said Travis LeBlanc, Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau.  “Wireless spectrum is a scarce public resource.  We expect every person or company that receives a spectrum license to put it to productive use.”

ANOTHER APPLE SUIT: The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals is reviving a legal challenge originally filed in 2012 regarding Apple’s restrictions that iPhone apps only be purchased in the App Store, reports Reuters. A group of iPhone users allege that this is anticompetitive. If the case against Apple were successful consumers could potentially have the option to shop for apps wherever they please, more similarly to the different app stores available to Android users.


Brookings will host a discussion on privacy at 10:00 a.m.

Tom Wheeler will give his final public address as Federal Communications Commission Chairman at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow at the Aspen Institute


The FAA proposed a $91,000 fine against Amazon.

Peter Thiel thinks Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHR McMaster says president's policy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is 'unwise' Cast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response MORE is pretty funny.

A new rule will give other agencies more access to raw NSA intel.