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White House Reportedly Discussing Time Warner-AT&T Merger as ‘Potential Point of Leverage’ Over CNN

In recent days, President Donald Trump has ramped up his long-running feud with CNN. While the president had taken aim at the network during the campaign and had even begun referring to them as “fake news” before taking office, his attacks on the outlet have taken a nastier turn of late in the wake of CNN’s retraction of a story that led to the resignations of three journalists.

With Trump taking it to a new level by tweeting out a video featuring him wrestling a figure with a CNN logo for a head, the New York Times posted a story about how the network is coping with being in the crosshairs of the most powerful person in the world.

While the piece featured some great quotes — Chris Cuomo likening CNN to “Thunderdome” takes the cake — and insights, perhaps the most eye-opening revelation involved how the White House might be willing to interfere in a business deal involving CNN due to the president’s feeling towards the network.

White House advisers have discussed a potential point of leverage over their adversary, a senior administration official said: a pending merger between CNN’s parent company, Time Warner, and AT&T. Mr. Trump’s Justice Department will decide whether to approve the merger, and while analysts say there is little to stop the deal from moving forward, the president’s animus toward CNN remains a wild card.

It had recently been reported that AT&T might be looking to “neutralize” CNN President Jeff Zucker as part of the merger, with options ranging from firing him to kicking him upstairs to a corporate executive job with no real input at CNN. Zucker declined to comment on the merger to the NYT but said it has not affected his decision-making.

[image via screengrab]

Follow Justin Baragona on Twitter: @justinbaragona

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