Trump pressured Gary Cohn to block AT&T-Time Warner merger: Report
President Trump reportedly directed former economic adviser Gary Cohn to pressure the Justice Department to stop the ATT-Time Warner merger, according to a report Monday.
Citing a “well-informed source,” the New Yorker reported Mr. Trump told Mr. Cohn and then-Chief of Staff John Kelly in summer 2017 to “make sure” the Justice Department blocked the merger.
Mr. Trump was reportedly angry that the Justice Department had not yet filed its opposition to the deal, according to the report.
“I’ve been telling Cohn to get this lawsuit filed and nothing’s happened. I’ve mentioned it 50 times. And nothing’s happened. I want to make sure it’s filed. I want that deal blocked,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Kelly, according to the report
The New Yorker said Mr. Cohn refused to follow the president’s order because he believed it was inappropriate.
At one point, Mr. Cohn told Mr. Kelly not to call because “we are not going to do business that way,” the New Yorker reported.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly blasted the deal, saying it’s ” not good for the country.” But the president’s critics viewed his opposition as an attempt to rattle CNN, a unit of Time Warner and a fierce voice against Mr. Trump.
However, the New Yorker claimed the president’s efforts to thwart the deal was motivated by an effort to bolster CNN rival Fox News.
Last summer, a federal judge ruled against the Justice Department. The administration’s appeal was denied by a federal court last month.