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Mike Mozart / Flickr Creative Commons

AT&T is trying to reassure Democrats skeptical of its proposed purchase of content powerhouse Time Warner.

The setup: In January, a group of 13 Democratic senators told the CEOs of both companies that because they will likely not face an FCC merger review they "will no longer have the legal burden of proving that the proposal would serve the public interest, and the public is left largely in the dark about how the deal would impact the affordability and quality of their phone, internet, and video services."

So they asked the companies to provide them with details on the public interest value of the deal by Friday. Here's the response::

  • Executives from both companies said that "this deal will increase competition and accelerate the innovation/investment cycle, all to the benefit of American consumers," according to excerpts provided by AT&T. It did not provide the full letter.
  • They defended the value of a Justice Department review for the deal, saying that "the competitive questions raised in your letter are precisely the issues under review by the Department of Justice, which Congress has entrusted with protecting competitive markets."
  • The letter reiterated the telco's argument that it would not be in its interest to keep Time Warner's content out of the hands of its competitors. The senators had expressed concerns that the deal could hurt competition.

What we're watching: A key antitrust official at the Department of Justice has yet to be named, but will send a signal about how the Trump administration plans to approach the issue. The president previously opposed the deal on the campaign trail.

Go deeper

Tech digs in for long domestic terror fight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With domestic extremist networks scrambling to regroup online, experts fear the next attack could come from a radicalized individual — much harder than coordinated mass events for law enforcement and platforms to detect or deter.

The big picture: Companies like Facebook and Twitter stepped up enforcement and their conversations with law enforcement ahead of Inauguration Day. But they'll be tested as the threat rises that impatient lone-wolf attackers will lash out.

The pandemic could be worsening childhood obesity

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The 10-month long school closures and the coronavirus pandemic are expected to have a big impact on childhood obesity rates.

Why it matters: About one in five children are obese in the U.S. — an all-time high — with worsening obesity rates across income and racial and ethnic groups, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show.

Dave Lawler, author of World
35 mins ago - World

Biden's Russia challenge

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Biden administration has already proposed a five-year extension of the last treaty constraining the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, announced an urgent investigation into a massive Russia-linked cyberattack, and demanded the release of Russia’s leading opposition figure, Alexey Navalny.

Why it matters: Those three steps in Biden's first week underscore the challenge he faces from Vladimir Putin — an authoritarian intent on weakening the U.S. and its alliances, with whom he’ll nonetheless have to engage on critical issues.