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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

Officials warn 5 key tech sectors will determine whether China overtakes U.S.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. intelligence officials responsible for protecting advanced technologies have narrowed their focus to five key sectors: artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, semiconductors and autonomous systems.

Why it matters: China and Russia are employing a variety of legal and illegal methods to undermine and overtake U.S. dominance in these critical industries, officials warned in a new paper. Their success will determine "whether America remains the world’s leading superpower or is eclipsed by strategic competitors."

4 hours ago - Health

Pfizer says COVID vaccine over 90% effective in kids

Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech said their COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective at protecting children between the ages of 5 and 11 from symptomatic infections from the virus, according to a study posted online by the FDA Friday.

Why it matters: Pfizer is seeking an emergency use authorization to vaccinate children — one of the last groups of Americans still largely ineligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine.

Changing the inflation conversation

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Inflation looks like it’ll run hot for longer than plenty of smart people thought it would. The conversation over just how much more Americans will have to pay for their stuff has taken on a new intensity, as supply problems show few signs of fading.

Why it matters: The rate of price growth has remained consistently strong in recent months — a time that some thought would bring cooling prices after an initial reopening spike. What goes on with prices will influence the decisions made by Congress, the Biden Administration, and the Federal Reserve.