White House advisers have discussed how a pending merger between CNN’s parent company, Time Warner, and AT&T could allow President Trump to exert clout over CNN, according to a report Wednesday night.
The New York Times published an interview it did with CNN President Jeff Zucker about Trump’s targeting of his news network. In the story, the Times reports how the White House is thinking about the potential Time Warner and AT&T merger, which is subject to antitrust approval by the Justice Department.
The Times, citing a senior administration official, says White House advisers have discussed the merger as “a potential point of leverage over their adversary,” CNN. The newspaper added, “the president’s animus toward CNN remains a wild card.”
Zucker, who was ousted as chief executive of NBCUniversal after that company merged with Comcast, declined to comment on the pending deal, telling the Times “it’s not something I think about.”
The New York Post reported last month that AT&T could try to “neutralize” Zucker after it buys Time Warner.
Zucker defended recent attacks against CNN in the Times interview, and vowed to not be intimidated by Trump. “He’s trying to bully us, and we’re not going to let him intimidate us,” he said. “You can’t lose your confidence and let that change the way you conduct yourselves.”