is far from a done deal. President Trump’s Justice Department has not signed off on it.
Mr. Trump hasn’t shied away from broadcasting his disdain for CNN.
As a candidate, he promised to stop the $85 billion merger between AT&T and CNN’s parent company, Time Warner.
CBS News has learned that Trump’s Justice Department told AT&T during a meeting on Monday that for the deal to go through, the company must sell CNN.
But adviser Kellyanne Conway insists the White House isn’t involved in the Justice Department’s anti-trust review.
A person familiar with the talks pointed to Mr. Trump’s frequent bashing of CNN and said that he and other White House officials have made it clear to AT&T, on multiple occasions, that they are dissatisfied with CNN.
In one case, sources say in January President-elect Trump raised the matter directly with AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson during a meeting at Trump Tower. That same day, Mr. Trump tweeted that “CNN is in a total meltdown” and “their credibility will soon be gone.”
On Wednesday morning, AT&T’s chief financial officer said on a conference call this type of merger hasn’t been blocked for over 40 years.
The Justice Department has a different account. The agency says AT&T offered to divest the network and the government flatly rejected it.
In a statement, AT&T’s CEO said in part: “I have never offered to sell CNN and have no intention of doing so.”
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