- Incoming House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told “Axios on HBO” that the Democrats plan to investigate Trump’s beef with CNN and the Washington Post.
- Trump has allegedly taken specific actions the two outlets, targeting their owners and parent companies.
- The news comes days after Trump publicly feuded with and then punished CNN’s Jim Acosta by revoking his White House press pass.
After the midterm elections, speculation immediately began on how the incoming Democratic House majority would use their newfound power to challenge President Donald Trump.
Now, the incoming House Intelligence Committee chairman told Axios that Democrats intend to investigate Trump’s attacks on the press.
Rep. Adam Schiff of California said in an interview that will air on HBO Sunday evening that they will specifically focus on Trump’s statements and actions against CNN and the Washington Post.
Trump has consistently badmouthed press outlets since the beginning of his 2016 campaign, but as president, he’s taken specific actions against those two outlets that some perceive as legitimate threats to press freedom.
Going after the ‘Amazon Washington Post’
The first was Trump’s reported efforts to raise mailing prices for Amazon, whose CEO Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post. Trump often highlights the connection by calling it the “Amazon Washington Post.”
Schiff told Axios that Trump was “secretly meeting with the postmaster [general] in an effort to browbeat the postmaster into raising postal rates on Amazon.”
“This appears to be an effort by the president to use the instruments of state power to punish Jeff Bezos and the Washington Post,” he said.
Schiff appeared to be referencing a report from the Washington Post that cited three sources who said Trump had personally attempted to pressure Postmaster General Megan Brennan to double the shipping rates applied to Amazon deliveries.
In December 2017, Trump publicly called for the Postal Service to charge Amazon more in a fiery tweet. And in April, Trump signed an executive order that created a task force to review the finances of USPS after days of rebuking the company.
Opposing the Time Warner and AT&T merger
Schiff also brought up the Trump administration’s efforts to block the merger between AT&T and Time Warner, the parent company of CNN.
“We don’t know, for example, whether the effort to hold up the merger of the parent of CNN was a concern over antitrust, or whether this was an effort merely to punish CNN,” he told Axios.
Trump has been vocal about his opposition to CNN’s coverage, and has also been vocal about his opposition to the merger, which was eventually approved in court but is still facing legal challenges.
In a May tweet, Trump noted his administration’s opposition to the merger. It was seemingly a response to a piece published the same day in which Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani said, “The president denied the merger.”
The revelation of the Democrats’ planned investigation comes the same week that Trump got in a heated exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta, which resulted in the White House suspending Acosta’s press credentials.
On Friday, Trump defended the action against Acosta and warned, “It could be others also.”