Attorney General Jeff Sessions was evasive when a member of the House Judiciary Committee asked whether the White House had contacted the Justice Department in an attempt to influence its decision about the deal. Delrahim, who supported Trump during the campaign and served nine months as a White House lawyer, is responsible for overseeing the AT&T transaction.
President Donald Trump denied on Saturday reports that he had ordered the Department of Justice to halt the $US85.4 billion ($1,275 billion) merger between AT&T and Time Warner unless the combined company sells off Turner Broadcasting, a group of cable channels which includes Trump's hated arch-enemy CNN.
Stephenson said he had "no reason to believe" that Trump's feelings towards CNN was impacting the DoJ's decision about the merger, which was announced a year ago with a deadline of 22 April 2018 - Stephenson's birthday. The only remaining regulatory approval for the deal to go through needs to be given by the United States Department of Justice, with the federal agency reportedly making preparations for litigation after failing to find common ground with AT&T. One scenario discussed would involve AT&T selling off Turner and then operating the spun-out company as a joint venture.
Trump has been a frequent critic of CNN, calling it a "fake news" network.
Reports claim another option for AT&T would be to sell off DirecTV, though Stephenson declined to comment on details of the telco's negotiations with the DoJ, only saying they are at an "advanced" stage. "Throughout this process, I have never offered to sell CNN and have no intention of doing so", said Stephenson in a statement. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineMore than a dozen lawmakers put family on campaign payroll Bipartisan lawmakers propose regulating gun bump stocks Lawmaker pledges to donate brain to help research football injuries MORE (D-R.I.) expressed their concern with Trump's possible involvement, noting that he "has repeatedly criticized CNN for the nature of its coverage of him".