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

Donald Trump

Donald Trump vowed to stop the deal while running for presidency

"I didn't make that decision", Trump told reporters, The Washington Post reported.

President Donald Trump on Saturday insisted he's played no part in the Justice Department's negotiations with AT&T over its $85 billion bid for Time Warner - talks that reportedly involve asking AT&T to sell off CNN's parent company. "We are prepared to litigate now", Stephenson told CNBC on the sidelines of the New York Times Dealbook conference. "It was made by a man who's a very respected person, a very, very respected person". Stephenson has said he has no interest in selling CNN.

The deal's holdup has raised suspicions of political retaliation - even from people who oppose the deal entirely.

"We'll see how that - it will probably end up being maybe litigation, maybe not".

"I did make a comment in the past as to what I think", Trump said. Those remarks put AT&T and DOJ on a collision course, policy analysts said, which may lead to DOJ suing to block the deal. "I do feel you should have as many news outlets as you can-especially since so many are fake".

Rather than attempting to weaken CNN as a condition of the merger, the DOJ should move against it for the reasons cited by Trump himself while campaigning in Gettysburg in 2016. On Wall Street, Time Warner fell 6.5 percent to close at $88.50, while AT&T shares jumped 1.1 percent to close at $33.44.

Raj Shah, a White House spokesman, said in a separate statement that Trump "did not speak with the Attorney General about this matter, and no White House official was authorized speak with the Department of Justice on this matter".

The official the president referred to was DOJ anti-trust chief Makan Delrahim, a Trump appointee who has threatened to block the deal in court unless AT&T sells off either Turner Broadcasting or its DirecTV service-the latter option impossible as it would undermine the entire basis of the merger. "But I do believe you should have as many news outlets as you can".

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