Trump pressured Gary Cohn to block AT&T-Time Warner merger

Trump pressured Gary Cohn to block AT&T-Time Warner merger

The New Yorker piece, on a the close relations between the Trump White House and Fox News, provides an account of an Oval Office meeting involving Trump, former economic advisor Gary Cohn, and former chief of staff John Kelly where Trump fulminates against the proposed merger of media giants AT&T and Time Warner.

Conway, a fierce Trump critic despite his wife's prominent position at the White House, was responding to a New Yorker story that reported Trump had directed Cohn to press the Justice Department to prevent the merger in the summer of 2017. And nothing's happened. I want to make sure it's filed. I've mentioned it fifty times. And nothing's happened. I want to make sure it's filed.

A new article in the New Yorker portrays President Trump as engaging in a brazen effort to stop a corporate merger to punish CNN - and Kellyanne Conway's husband, lawyer George Conway, says the conduct would be impeachable if proven. "He 'walked out of the meeting" and told Kelly, 'Don't you f***ing dare call the Justice Department. However, White House staff apparently ignored the president's orders to pressure the DOJ, and it's not clear whether Trump ever made any demands to the DOJ directly.

Supposedly, Trump was seeking to block the Time Warner and AT&T merger to help out his friends at Fox and because of his animus against Time Warner's CNN.

"An industry that had previously been considered untouchable - the cable guys - is now subject to criticism from the president", said Susan Crawford, a Harvard Law School professor who is a former aide to Mr. Obama.

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March 2 - Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes says she will not be seeking re-election in October in her riding of Whitby, Ont. Wilson-Raybould, who last later shuffled out of her justice portfolio to veterans affairs, said she resisted the pressure.

Details in The New Yorker report suggest that Trump ordered staffers to intervene in the DOJ review but that his staffers did not do so. "We are not going to do business that way".

Fox, on the other hand, opposed it. Trump, a close ally of Fox, claimed that the deal was "not good for the country, " but also said he was "not going to get involved".

While Trump openly criticized the AT&T-Time Warner deal, he publicly congratulated Murdoch for selling most of 21st Century Fox to Disney even before the deal had received regulatory approval.

Cohn, however, considered it improper and warned Kelly not to intervene, the report said.

In an affidavit previous year, DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim said that his review of the AT&T/Time Warner merger "took no account of the views of anyone else (including then-candidate or President Trump or anyone at the White House) as to CNN's editorial content or exercise of First Amendment rights", according to a Variety article.

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