Blumenthal Asks Antitrust National Team To Discuss White House Role In AT&T Deal

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Senator Richard Blumenthal questions Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said on Wednesday that he asked President Donald Trump‘s top antitrust election to meet to discuss any contact he has had with the White House regarding the merger plan. AT&T (N 🙂 with Time Warner (N :).

Blumenthal told reporters on Capitol Hill that he requested the meeting with Makan Delrahim in the wake of a New York Times report that White House advisers fighting the television news station CNN pondered the use of a government review. of AT & T’s merger plans as a lever.

Delrahim was nominated to be the assistant attorney general for antitrust at the Justice Department and is awaiting confirmation from the Senate. The department’s Antitrust Division will decide whether the agreement is legal under US law.

“(The White House) is ethically and morally prohibited from intervening,” said Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut. “The mere threat is a very serious possible violation of ethics.”

On Tuesday, AT&T spokesman Bob Quinn declined to discuss the report. Quinn said AT&T believes it can complete regulatory reviews and close the deal by the end of the year.

Blumenthal also said he had written to the CEOs of AT&T and Time Warner about the report.

Blumenthal’s comments echo those of Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, who said last week in a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions that “any political interference in the application of the laws antitrust is unacceptable. “

Trump himself has not commented publicly on the deal since the election, but during his campaign he said it was an example of a “power structure” manipulated against him and “too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.”

Blumenthal said Delrahim had not yet responded to the request. The Justice Department declined to comment.

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