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  • 02.27.17

Trump-appointed FCC chair suddenly diverges from Trump agenda by shrugging off AT&T-Time-Warner

Remember that time Donald Trump said his administration would never approve the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner? On the campaign trail in October, Trump said the deal would put “too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.” That was then. In an interview at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this morning, the FCC’s new commissioner, Ajit Pai, said he doesn’t think the agency should even have a role in reviewing the $85 billion deal, the Wall Street Journal reports. The reason, Pai says, is that no airwave licenses are being transferred. 

“That is the regulatory hook for FCC review . . . My understanding is that the deal won’t be presented to the commission.” 

That would mean one less regulatory hurdle for the merger, which would still need to pass muster with the DOJ. In criticizing the merger, candidate Trump was likely using it as a talking point—a way to instill fear in CNN, which is owned by Time Warner. 

CZ