AT&T CEO on whether Trump's CNN antipathy is behind DOJ lawsuit: No one 'should be surprised the question keeps coming up'

Randall stephensonPBSAT&T CEO Randall Stephenson during a press conference.
  • AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson blasted the US Department of Justice over an impending lawsuit.
  • The department is fighting to block a merger between AT&T and Time Warner.
  • Stephenson said the company will not sell off CNN to satisfy the department.

AT&T’s CEO blasted the US Department of Justice following news that the agency will sue to block the company’s $US84.5 billion takeover of Time Warner.

In a press conference in New York on Monday, Randall Stephenson said he was “surprised to be here,” and that the lawsuit was “unprecedented” and “defies logic.”

He also balked at the proposal reportedly floated by DOJ antitrust officials that the company should sell Turner Broadcasting, the group of channels that includes CNN, to receive approval for the deal.

“There’s been a lot of reporting and speculation whether this is all about CNN,” Stephenson said. “Frankly, I don’t know. But nobody should be surprised the question keeps coming up, because we’ve witnessed such an abrupt change in the application of anti-trust law.”

“We cannot and we will not be party to any agreement that would give even the perception of compromising the first amendment protection of the press. So any agreement that results in us forfeiting control of CNN, whether directly, or indirectly, is a nonstarter.”

President Donald Trump has frequently blasted CNN throughout his presidential campaign and presidency.

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