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Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara at the Vanity Fair Oscars Party. Photo: Presley Ann/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

In a brief filed in a federal court, a group of former Justice Department officials say they are worried about the possibility that the DOJ's suit to block the proposed AT&T-Time Warner merger is motivated by President Trump's loathing for Time Warner subsidiary, CNN.

Why it matters: This group of former officials includes fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and John Dean, who was Richard Nixon's top White House lawyer. The judge overseeing the case may have recently tamped down AT&T's attempt to pursue its argument that the decision to block the deal might be political, but the issue isn't going away.

What they're saying:

"To be clear, DOJ may well have acted independently and outside the cloud of any White House interference in this matter," said the group. "But when the president specifically threatens to use the power of DOJ to punish a perceived opponent, it raises serious constitutional concerns. Public confidence in the rule of law demands a full inquiry, if for no other reason than to ensure the public that the Department continues to adhere to its obligation of ensuring the fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans."

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.