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Democrats to probe Trump actions on AT&T, Amazon: aide

Stock Markets Nov 12, 2018 05:21AM ET
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By David Shepardson and Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - When Democrats take control of the U.S. House they plan to investigate the Trump administration's attempt to block AT&T Inc (N:T) from acquiring Time Warner, and whether officials sought to punish Amazon.com Inc (O:AMZN) by prodding the U.S. Post Office to hike shipping prices for the world's largest e-commerce company, a senior Democrat and a congressional aide said on Sunday.

Speaking to online publication Axios, Representative Adam Schiff, who is expected to be the incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Democrats will review if Trump used the powers of the federal government to punish the companies.

Representative Elijah Cummings, the likely incoming chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said the committee "may want to look into" if the White House retaliated against Amazon and AT&T.

A House Oversight and Government Reform Committee aide said on Sunday that the committee has "already been investigating these matters, but the Trump Administration to date has not complied with our requests. We fully expect that to change now that we are in the majority."

Cummings also said on ABC's "This Week" that he intends to investigate if Trump killed plans to relocate the new headquarters of the FBI because moving it could harm his business interests in the Trump Hotel across the street.

Cummings in September asked the White House and the Trump Organization for documents about Trump's "failure to accurately report debts and payments" to his personal attorney Michael Cohen "for silencing women who alleged extramarital affairs before the election."

Another committee aide said on Sunday "the requested information was not provided because we were in the minority, and this should change now that we are in the majority." Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight felony counts.

Since winning control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections last week, Democrats have vowed to launch investigations on a wide range of topics involving the Trump administration.

Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos privately owns the Washington Post, while Time Warner's holdings include CNN. Trump has lambasted both outlets frequently for their critical coverage of him.

"It is very squarely within our responsibility to find out," Schiff told Axios in an interview that will air Sunday on HBO.

Schiff said Trump "was secretly meeting with the postmaster (general) in an effort to browbeat the postmaster into raising postal rates on Amazon... This appears to be an effort by the president to use the instruments of state power to punish Jeff Bezos and the Washington Post," Schiff said.

It is not clear what committees may probe the corporate issues, since Schiff's Intelligence Committee would not have oversight. A Schiff spokesman declined further comment.

AT&T and Amazon.com both declined to comment on Sunday. The White House did not immediately comment.

Trump has repeatedly complained Amazon does not pay the U.S. Postal Service a fair rate for package delivery. Trump has said, without citing evidence, that this costs U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars, and he has threatened to raise the company's postal rates.

Trump opposed the AT&T-Time Warner merger as a candidate and has repeatedly attacked CNN and last week a CNN reporter's White House press pass was suspended.

The Justice Department is appealing a federal judge's approval of the $85.4 billion AT&T acquisition of Time Warner.

With a split decision in last week's congressional elections, Democrats plan a cautious approach. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told CBS's "Face the Nation" that Democrats will not conduct "any investigation for a political purpose, but to seek the truth."

Cummings vowed a "methodical" approach in approaching investigations. "I'm not going to be handing out subpoenas like somebody’s handing out candy on Halloween," Cummings said.

Democrats to probe Trump actions on AT&T, Amazon: aide
 

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Comments (9)
Holly Sorensen
Holly Sorensen Nov 12, 2018 11:41AM ET
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trump is horrible
Holly Sorensen
Holly Sorensen Nov 12, 2018 11:35AM ET
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since it is obvious to those of us with brains that the toddler and lying sociopath trump needs oversight in every sleezy move he makes, finally America has put its foot down and said no more! We will continue to take our hijacked country back from the hands of this atrocious child dictator who is not only a danger to our citizens at home but also the world at large. He is morally corrupt and the biggest embarrassment our country has ever seen! Cant wait til this chaos administration is gone gone gone never to return to power ever again.
Griffin Muchina
Griffin Muchina Nov 12, 2018 10:42AM ET
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trump. 2020
tele graf
tele graf Nov 12, 2018 10:15AM ET
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while I dislike the character Trump, I fully support his rate increase by USPS for Amazon transactions. A private profit growing company should not be using a publicly supported entity unjustly while also ***competition which pays taxes to state's coffee thru employment,rent and sales. I observed this years ago and mentioned this years ago to USPS staff @ my local area. Also support him looking at rate increase for those cheap parcel we ship from China for less than $1 but can't ship same package cheaper within America.
michael hammer
michael hammer Nov 12, 2018 6:58AM ET
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Isn't it funny how pro-business Democrats get when they think they can get Trump.
michael hammer
michael hammer Nov 12, 2018 6:54AM ET
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I can't wait for the endless waste of resources probing every single thing Trump does.
hugh wood
hugh wood Nov 12, 2018 6:53AM ET
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republicans sole agenda is to stop the America businesses and people being bullied by overseas. democrats sole agenda is to overthrow their own president
Balooof LaMancha
BalooofLaMancha Nov 12, 2018 2:27AM ET
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So have the Democrats become the party of the biggest of big business?
William Rasmussen
William Rasmussen Nov 11, 2018 11:55AM ET
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Good to hear someone is trying to uphold the constituion, and hold this embarassment accountable.
 
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