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Robin Groulx / Axios

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai found himself answering for President Trump's media bashing at a Wednesday Senate hearing, less than 24 hours after the president renominated him as the top regulator.

The top line: The chairman wouldn't say directly whether he agreed with President Trump's statements that certain media outlets are the "enemy of the American people" because he didn't want to "wade into the larger political debate." He did, however, express support for the First Amendment. He responded similarly when asked about White House adviser Steve Bannon's declaration that the media should "keep its mouth shut." Pai said that he had "not made comments like that."

The details: Pai also said he hasn't spoken with anyone in the administration about AT&T's proposed $85 billion purchase of Time Warner, which the president has criticized. He also generally reiterated that the FCC would act independently of the White House.

Why it matters: The exchange underscores how Trump's continued attacks on the media raise questions for Pai. Telecom giants regulated by the FCC have expanded their push into news content, from the AT&T deal to Comcast's investment in multiple digital media outlets to Verizon's purchase of Huffington Post owner Aol.

Note: Comcast's NBC is an investor in Axios and Andy Lack is a member of the Axios board.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Rahm Emanuel floated for Transportation secretary

Rahm Emanuel. Photo: Joshua Lott for The Washington Post via Getty Images

President-elect Biden is strongly considering Rahm Emanuel to run the Department of Transportation, weighing the former Chicago mayor’s experience on infrastructure spending against concerns from progressives over his policing record.

Why it matters: The DOT could effectively become the new Commerce Department, as infrastructure spending, smart cities construction and the rollout of drone-delivery programs take on increasing economic weight.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden turns to experienced hands for White House economic team

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Joe Biden plans to announce Cecilia Rouse and Brian Deese as part of his economic team and Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: These are experienced hands. Unveiling a diverse group of advisers also may draw attention away from a selection of Deese to run the National Economic Council. Some progressives have criticized his work at BlackRock, the world's largest asset management firm.

Biden taps former Obama communications director for press secretary

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Jen Psaki, who previously served as Obama's communications director, will serve as President-elect Joe Biden's press secretary, the transition team announced Sunday.

The big picture: All of the top aides in Biden's communication staff will be women, per the Washington Post, which first reported Psaki's appointment.