George Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, said Monday that it would “unquestionably be grounds for impeachment” if President Donald Trump ordered former White House economic adviser Gary Cohn to pressure the Department of Justice to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger.
“If proven, such an attempt to use presidential authority to seek retribution for the exercise of First Amendment rights would unquestionably be grounds for impeachment,” Conway tweeted after The New Yorker reported that Trump gave that directive to Cohn in the summer of 2017.
If proven, such an attempt to use presidential authority to seek retribution for the exercise of First Amendment rights would unquestionably be grounds for impeachment. https://t.co/F1UANzeD2q
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) March 4, 2019
“I’ve been telling Cohn to get this lawsuit filed and nothing’s happened! I’ve mentioned it fifty times,” Trump reportedly complained during a 2017 Oval Office meeting with then-chief of staff John Kelly and Cohn after no action had been taken on Trump’s request to have the merger blocked. “And nothing’s happened. I want to make sure it’s filed. I want that deal blocked!”
The Hill notes: “The Justice Department ultimately brought a lawsuit that year seeking to block the merger on antitrust grounds, but U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled last year that the merger could proceed. Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld that ruling, rejecting the Justice Department’s effort to have Leon’s ruling reversed. ”
Trump has repeatedly criticized the deal, which Time Warner viewed as “essential to its survival,” an unusual move for a sitting president, according to the New Yorker.
The magazine notes that “many people suspected that his objection was a matter of petty retaliation against CNN.”
“If proven, such an attempt to use presidential authority to seek retribution for the exercise of First Amendment rights would unquestionably be grounds for impeachment,” tweeted Conway, partner and Of Counsel in the Litigation Department at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York City.