I Didn't 'Make Decision' to Recommend AT&T Sell CNN

12 November, 2017, 01:57 | Author: Julio Duncan
  • Manhattan’s East Village. Credit Christian Hansen for The New York Times

Rupert Murdoch is said to be interested in buying CNN. He added that AT&T was also not willing to sell HBO or Warner Bros., which would also come along with Time Warner if the deal goes through.

President Donald Trump denied on Saturday reports that he had ordered the Department of Justice to halt the $85.4 billion merger between AT&T and Time Warner unless the combined company sells off Turner Broadcasting, a group of cable channels which includes Trump's hated arch-enemy CNN.

Representatives of Twenty-First Century Fox, AT&T and Time Warner, CNN's parent, declined comment.

AT&T has argued against selling off either company's assets, as it believes this would undercut the rationale for the tie-up.

The corporate negotiations are political in part because Trump frequently calls out CNN as "fake news". As president, Trump has often blasted CNN for its coverage of him and his administration, disparaging it and its reporters as "fake news". 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.

"I did make a comment as to what I think", Trump acknowledged, appearing to reference previous remarks he had made on the campaign trail criticizing the AT&T deal.

Forcing a sale of CNN could harm the news network, if a buyer doesn't have the same deep pockets as AT&T and Time Warner to support newsgathering.

Delrahim has said he was never given instructions by the White House on how to conduct his analysis.

In an email provided by a DOJ spokeswoman, White House spokesman Raj Shah said that Trump "did not speak with the attorney general about this matter", and that "no White House official was authorized to speak with the Department of Justice on this matter". Those remarks put AT&T and DOJ on a collision course, policy analysts said, which may lead to DOJ suing to block the deal.


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