President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani seemed to suggest that the president had a larger role in the Justice Department’s decision to block AT&T’s proposed merger with Time Warner in an interview with The Huffington Post on Friday, May 11.
In the interview, Giuliani states that Trump “denied the merger,” which appears to fly in the face of months of assurances from the DOJ and the White House that Trump had no influence over the decision.
Giuliani made the comments after being asked whether Trump had knowledge that Michael Cohen, his lawyer, had taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from AT&T in the weeks after the election for consulting work on the merger.
“The president had no knowledge of it,” the former New York City mayor told HuffPost.
Then, in another interview on Saturday, Giuliani’s comments appear to walk back from his earlier claim in the interview with HuffPost that Trump had personally intervened to stop AT&T’s attempt to merge with Time Warner.
“The president denied the merger. They didn’t get the result they wanted,” Giuliani said. He added, “Whatever lobbying was done didn’t reach the president.”
Before taking up his role as the DOJ’s antitrust chief in 2017, Makan Delrahim told a Canadian outlet, “I don’t see this as a major antitrust problem.” But he seemingly changed his mind once on the job. The Justice Department cited antitrust concerns when it blocked the proposed US$85 billion merger in November.
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