DOJ Files Suit To Block AT&T Takeover Of Time Warner, CNN’s Parent Company

UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 18: Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Full committee hearing on "Oversight of the U.S. Department of Justice" on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)
Bill Clark/CQPHO

The Department of Justice on Monday filed a lawsuit to block AT&T’s merger with Time Warner, the parent company of President Donald Trump’s longtime cable network enemy CNN.

Makan Delrahim, who leads the antitrust division at the Department of Justice, said in a statement that the merger “would greatly harm American consumers.”

“AT&T/DirecTV’s combination with Time Warner is unlawful,” Delrahim said. “Absent an adequate remedy that would fully prevent the harms this merger would cause, the only appropriate action for the Department of Justice is to seek an injunction from a federal judge blocking the entire transaction.”

Politico first reported Monday afternoon, citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter, that the Justice Department planned to file a lawsuit blocking the merger. CNN also reported the potential lawsuit, citing an unnamed source, as did the Associated Press.

According to CNN, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said last week that the company would seek an expedited hearing if the Justice Department legally challenged the merger.

The Financial Times and Politico reported earlier in November that the Justice Department told AT&T that it would need to sell off CNN or make other concessions in order to obtain the department’s approval for the merger.

Trump has directed his ire at CNN since he was a candidate, in the early days before he expanded the definition of “fake news” beyond the one network to encompass others he also dislikes.

Read the Justice Department’s filing:

This post has been updated.