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Jeff Sessions ducks questions about White House influence on AT&T-Time Warner merger

U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, during questioning at a congressional hearing Tuesday, sidestepped questions about whether President Trump’s vitriol toward CNN was factoring into the Department of Justice’s review of a mammoth media merger.

AT&T is trying to buy Time Warner Inc. — which owns CNN, HBO, TNT, Cartoon Network and the Warner Bros. movie and television studio — for $85 billion. Justice Department antitrust division officials met last week with AT&T executives to discuss their concerns about the merger.

Trump’s disdain for CNN — he calls the network “fake news” — has become an issue in the federal government’s review of the proposed merger, raising questions about whether the Justice Department is bowing to political pressure.

During Tuesday’s hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) pointedly asked Sessions whether the White House has gotten involved in what is supposed to be a legal review of the merits of AT&T’s proposed merger.

This article was first published at 10:20 a.m.