AT&T and Time Warner will hold a press conference later today to discuss the Justice Department's efforts to block their merger, but in the meantime, the companies are calling out the agency. Subsequent reports from Reuters and Politico confirmed the news.
The DOJ's case against the merger suggests that together, the companies would control so much of both what people watch and how they watch it, that they could push both competitors and consumers to pay more. Rather, it bears the burden of proving to the U.S. District Court that the transaction violates the law.
While in office, Trump has regularly labeled CNN as "fake news" and in February his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner met with Time Warner executives and voiced concerns about what the administration considered as slanted coverage from CNN.
AT&T and Time Warner announced their $85 billion merger previous year but the closing has been dragged out by the government's anti-trust review.
The company's general counsel, David McAtee, said the suit was "a radical and inexplicable departure from decades of antitrust precedent". At the same time, the DOJ argues that the proposed merger is unprecedented in its size and harm. The deal took an unexpected turn when President Donald Trump was elected after vowing to block the deal on the campaign trail while criticizing CNN, which is owned by Time Warner.