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AT&T Could Seek White House Communications in Antitrust Review

14 November 2017

AT&T suspects the White House is trying to interfere in its proposed $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner and is preparing to probe its role in the antitrust review of the deal that's presently threatening to block the merger, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing sources close to the second largest wireless carrier in the country.

The Justice Department's antitrust division is poised to file a lawsuit to stop the deal if it can't reach an agreement with the companies. For his part, Trump denied making any decisions on behalf of the DOJ but did indicate he believed the review could end up in court. The first occasion on which he reflected on the matter in an official capacity as President came during his recent trip to Asia when he gave an ambiguous remark about AT&T's case possibly going to trial, noting how litigation still isn't guaranteed. "This way, at least you can get your word out". Then he added: "I do feel you should have as many news outlets as you can - especially since so many are fake".

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The government may argue that communications between the White House and the Justice Department are protected either by attorney-client privilege or under executive privilege, said Spencer Weber Waller, a law professor at Loyola University Chicago and a former Justice Department lawyer.

Context: President Trump, some congressional Republicans and Fox News personalities have been braying for Sessions to investigate the Clinton Foundation and the Uranium One sale. The president has praised Fox News' coverage of his administration.

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When asked specifically whether the Department of Justice has asked AT&T to divest Time Warner, Sessions said, "I don't think. -ORCRP015301-topic.html" class="local_link" >Time Warner, responding to reports this week that DOJ had asked the telecom giant to sell off CNN's parent company, Turner Broadcasting.

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