The White House has denied demands by two House Democrats for information on President Donald Trump’s alleged role in blocking the merger of AT&T and Time Warner, the latest in a series of refusals to provide Democrats with records on Trump.
Representatives Jerry Nadler and David Cicilline requested the information in a letter last month, shortly after a New Yorker report claimed that the President directed his then-economic adviser Gary Cohn to block the $85 billion merger.
In their request for communications between President Trump and senior White House officials concerning the merger, the two lawmakers argued that the government’s interference in anti-trust enforcement was “unacceptable” and resembled circumstances in the Nixon administration.
However, CNN writes that the White House denied the Democrats’ request in a letter of its own, saying that “robust confidentiality protections are essential for the proper functioning of the Presidency.”
“We cannot, however, provide the Committee with protected communications between the President and his most senior advisers that are at the very core of the Executive Branch’s confidentiality interests,” White House counsel Pat Cipollone said in the letter.
He added that such inquiries should be directed to the DOJ, which “will be responding in due course.” Although the Justice Department did not respond to requests for comment, DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim said he was never instructed by the President or his associates to challenge the deal.
A three-judge panel ultimately approved the merger unanimously after the Department of Justice appealed a decision by a lower court judge denying the government’s attempt to block it.
The refusal is the latest one in a series of refusals by the White House for documents pertaining to Trump, his finances and business dealings. Many of them have already resulted in subpoenas. House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings has issued several subpoenas lately, one to Mazars USA, an accounting firm that prepared several years of Trump’s financial statements, and others related to investigations into White House security clearances and a citizenship question on the U.S. Census.