Before the companies merged, Time Warner board member William Barr, whom Trump will likely nominate for attorney general, attended a meeting with the company's general counsel and officials from the Justice Department's antitrust division to discuss the mega-merger. While the clashing accounts of what happened at the meeting have been previously reported, the likelihood that Barr can become the nation's top law enforcement officer is that of the quarrel and the questions about the future of the antitrust division and its staff.
Makan Delrahim, whom Trump thing to lead the antitrust enforcement agency, said that during the November 2017 meeting, Paul Cappuccio, General Warner General, threatened to "employ personal attacks to the integrity of the Antitrust Division" and "the government moved to block According to a sworn statement filed in federal court, Delrahim said that Cappuccio stood up, waved his finger at him and said that the government tried to prevent the merger, the case would be "a sh * tshow like you've never seen, "resembling" Jimmy Hoffa and the firing of Jim Comey. "
Delrahim's deputy, Andrew Finch, attended the same meeting and corroborated Delrahim's account in his own affidavit.
But Barr, who sat in the meeting on behalf of Time Warner, said in a sworn statement that the accounts given by Delrahim and Finch were "inaccurate and incomplete." In addition to stating that Delrahim "would not engage in a meaningful discussion" about he said that "no reasonable person could have misinterpreted Mr. Cappuccio's comments as to a threat that the companies would personally attack Mr. Delrahim or anyone else in the event of litigation."
Barr said the finger-pointing did not happen and that it was not back to Hoffa or Comey. He said that Delrahim and Finch's statements about Cappuccio were "incorrect."
Barr also disputed Delrahim's interpretation of his own behavior at the meeting.
According to Delrahim, Barr "appeared uncomfortable and pushed his flesh back from the table" after Cappuccio delivered his threat.
But Barr said that statement is "wrong." He continued: "The discomfort I felt at the end of the meeting was the result of my concern that Mr. Delrahim's position on the alleged harm of the merger … [was] the product of a well-versed substantive analysis, but rather political or other motivation. As the train Attorney General is disturbing to me. "
The Justice Department and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Barr, 68, served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993 under President George H. W. Bush.
The Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit to block the deal. But after a close followed trial, a federal judge sided with AT & T, ruling that the government failed to show that the merger would be harm competition or consumers. The agency delivered oral arguments Thursday as part of its appeal. The three-judge panel appeared skeptical of the government's case.