For roughly the gazillionth time, President Donald Trump’s inability to shut his mouth on Twitter could cause him some problems.
Over the weekend, Trump once again tweeted about his hatred of CNN, again referring to the network as “fake news”. The difference this time is that the Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit to block a merger between CNN’s parent company, Time Warner, and AT&T.
.@FoxNews is MUCH more important in the United States than CNN, but outside of the U.S., CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly. The outside world does not see the truth from them!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 25, 2017
The DoJ filed the suit, alleging that the proposed merger would create a media monopoly, and therefore “substantially lessen competition, resulting in higher prices and less innovation for millions of Americans.” Even if one agrees with the Justice Department’s reasoning and is against the merger, Trump’s comments make the blocking of it suspicious.
Chief White House ethics lawyer under former President Obama, Norm Eisen, responded to Trump’s tweet attacking CNN with a tweet of his own. Eisen reminded the president that his tweet could be used as evidence against the DOJ. Attorneys arguing in favor of the Time Warner/AT&T merger could argue that the Department of Justice’s lawsuit was filed not because of a possible monopoly, but because of Trump’s personal dislike of CNN.
Eisen also intimated that Trump’s tweet looked like collusion with Russian President Vladimir Putin. On Saturday, Putin signed laws requiring foreign media outlets to be listed as foreign agents if they worked in Russia.
Dear Dodo-in-Chief: u realize that this tweet is going 2be an exhibit against u in the DOJ -TimeWarner antitrust case right? It also smacks of collusion since u did it on day when Vlad cracked down on US networks. For that reason, it may open u to other civil liability. G’night! https://t.co/acyCYYSYeK
— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) November 26, 2017
Did the DOJ file suit because it truly believes the merger would create a monopoly, or are they following the orders of President Trump, who would just be trying to hurt CNN for reporting factual, but negative, stories about him? When someone does the right thing for the wrong reasons, is the result itself still right?
These moral and legal quandaries are what happens when Donald Trump is POTUS.