A new report from The New Yorker's Jane Mayer reveals that President Donald Trump ordered former economic adviser Gary Cohn to put pressure on the Department of Justice to do more to block a proposed merger between AT&T and CNN parent company Time Warner.
According to Mayer, Trump hauled Cohn into the Oval Office in the summer of 2017 and read him the riot act for not doing enough to block the proposed deal.
"I've been telling Cohn to get this lawsuit filed and nothing's happened!" Trump fumed to Cohn. "I've mentioned it 50 times. And nothing’s happened. I want to make sure it's filed. I want that deal blocked!"
The DOJ would subsequently file a lawsuit to block the merger months later, Mayer notes, even though Cohn also apparently disobeyed Trump's orders to get involved in the deal.
"Don't you f*cking dare call the Justice Department," Cohn said, according to Mayer's reporting. "We are not going to do business that way."
A former White House official confirms to Mayer that Trump ranted regularly about DOJ inaction over the AT&T-Time Warner merger.
"The President does not understand the nuances of antitrust law or policy," the official explained. "But he wanted to bring down the hammer."