President Trump broke silence on AT&T's proposed purchase of Time Warner that the United States Department of Justice challenged with a lawsuit earlier this week, calling the potential tie-up "not a good deal for the country." After criticizing the proposal during the 2016 election campaign, the President was reserved in regards to subsequent requests for comments on the matter over the next 12 months, having only acknowledged the possible merger during his recent visit to China when he ambiguously said the case may or may not end up in litigation. His Tuesday remarks were significantly more straightforward, though he didn't elaborate on the matter, save for saying he believes "your pricing's going to go up" should the deal be approved.
President Trump's involvement in the antitrust review of the consolidation is understood to be one of AT&T's main arguments against the government's efforts to stop the deal, with recent reports suggesting that the second largest mobile service provider in the country is now preparing to investigate any potential interference in the merger on the part of the White House. President Trump repeatedly clashed with Time Warner-owned CNN in recent times and has been consistently referring to the media network as "fake news" since before being elected to the highest office in the country, with AT&T possibly looking to use that as an angle of proving that the DOJ's lawsuit is politically motivated. The Dallas, Texas-based wireless carrier still remains adamant that the burden of proof is on the government, adding that Washington won't be able to prove any realistic antitrust concerns it previously alleged.
The DOJ's lawsuit against AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner is largely unprecedented in nature, both because it's aimed against a vertical merger — the type of consolidation that Washington traditionally doesn't take issue with — and because it was initiated by a Republican-led government whose political platform was historically more friendly toward big businesses than the Democratic one. Due to that state of affairs, many industry watchers believe AT&T has a solid case against the federal agency and is likely to successfully defend its position, with the wireless carrier supposedly thinking the same as it's now planning to ask for an expedited trial, insiders said earlier this week.