AT&T CEO: DOJ never demanded CNN sale in Time Warner deal

Per Recode, Trump told reporters on Air Force One that he "didn't make that decision-it was made by a man who's a very respected person, a very, very respected person". In a separate statement, DOJ's new antitrust chief, Makan Delrahim, said he has "never been instructed by the White House on this or any other transaction under review by the antitrust division". The Justice Department has asked that assets like cable news network CNN and satellite provider DirecTV be sold, according to people familiar with the matter. "We are prepared to litigate now", Stephenson told CNBC on the sidelines of the New York Times Dealbook conference. As a candidate, Trump vowed to block the deal shortly after it was announced, but has not addressed the issue publicly as president.

One White House official told the Journal that Kushner supposedly "didn't intend the comment to be taken seriously, and was simply trying to make a point". "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".

Gary Ginsberg has reportedly replied to Jared Kushner that Time Warner, CNN's parent company, would not be able to do that, The Wall Street Journal said, citing its sources. Trump assailed the merger on the campaign trail, saying the tie-up would concentrate media power. "So we'll see - that probably ends up being litigation maybe not, we'll see how it all plays out".

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Raj Shah, a White House spokesman, said in a separate statement that Trump "did not speak with the Attorney General about this matter, and no White House official was authorized speak with the Department of Justice on this matter".

A DOJ source quoted by Politico later claimed that AT&T and Time Warner itself had offered to shed CNN to diminish antitrust concerns about the merger. Delrahim first noted Ronald Reagan's quip that the most terrifying words in the English language are "I'm from the government and I'm here to help".


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