Rupert Murdoch contacted AT&T CEO twice about buying CNN

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

"Well I didn't make that decision - it was made by a man who's a very respected person, a very very respected person", Trump added.

Instead, the Trump administration DOJ plans to use the merger as a weapon against one the president's least favorite news organizations - Time Warner's CNN.

The revelation of Trump's son-in-law controversial comments came days after the reports that the US Department of Justice was forcing Time Warner to sell CNN before eventually approving the telecom giant's merger with AT&T. In a separate statement, DOJ's new antitrust chief, Makan Delrahim, said he has "never been instructed by the White House on this or any other transaction under review by the antitrust division".

Rupert Murdoch may be kicking the tires on a deal to buy CNN.

CNN, which President Trump has derided as "fake news" - while praising Murdoch's Fox News - is at the center of AT&T's $85.4 billion deal to buy Time Warner.

AT&T has argued against selling off either company's assets, as it believes this would undercut the rationale for the tie-up.

Supreme Court rejects PIL on appointment of judges
The Supreme Court on Friday constituted a seven-judge bench to examine a plea on bribing of judges to obtain favourable outcomes. Justice Arun Mishra reacted: "Is that not a bad reflection on us that only five senior judges should hear the matter".

Monday, the DOJ advised the companies that it would not sign off on the merger unless they agree to divest the merged company of CNN, which the president regularly condemns as a supposed purveyor of what he calls "fake news".

"We're prepared to litigate now", Stephenson said at a conference this week hosted by the New York Times.

"I did make a comment as to what I think", Trump also acknowledged.

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".

Delrahim has said he was never given instructions by the White House on how to conduct his analysis. Those remarks put AT&T and DOJ on a collision course, policy analysts said, which may lead to DOJ suing to block the deal.

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