Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Justice Department on Monday filed an appeal brief of a judge's ruling that allowed AT&T to buy Time Warner for $85 billion, arguing that the judge failed to properly evaluate how the merger would give AT&T too much leverage over its competition (and why AT&T would be motivated to use that leverage).

Why it matters: The appeal revives questions about whether the Justice Department acted primarily to please President Trump, who has attacked Time Warner subsidiary CNN and the overall transaction.

Such issues were not specifically addressed at trial.

From the DOJ's brief:

"The district court... erroneously [ignored] fundamental principles of economics and common sense. These errors distorted its view of the evidence and rendered its factual findings clearly erroneous, and they are the subject of this appeal."

In a statement, AT&T said:

“Appeals aren’t ‘do-overs.’ After a long trial, Judge Leon weighed the evidence and rendered a comprehensive 172-page decision that systematically exposed each of the many holes in the Government’s case. There is nothing in DOJ’s brief today that should disturb that decision.”

Go deeper: How to unwind a mega-merger

Go deeper

Updated 9 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6:15 p.m. EST: 32,062,182 — Total deaths: 979,701 — Total recoveries: 22,057,268Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6:15 p.m EST: 6,967,103 — Total deaths: 202,558 — Total recoveries: 2,670,256 — Total tests: 97,459,742Map.
  3. Health: Cases are surging again in 22 states — New York will conduct its own review of coronavirus vaccine.
  4. Business: America is closing out its strongest quarter of economic growth.
  5. Technology: 2020 tech solutions may be sapping our resolve to beat the pandemic.
  6. Sports: Here's what college basketball will look like this season.
  7. Science: During COVID-19 shutdown, a common sparrow changed its song.
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The child care tax on America's economy

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Axios Re:Cap digs into the problems and what can be done to solve them, with Vox senior reporter Anna North.

Viral load is a puzzle in COVID-19

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How sick a person gets from a virus can depend on how much of the pathogen that person was exposed to and how much virus is replicating in their body — questions that are still open for the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: As people try to balance resuming parts of their daily lives with controlling their risk of COVID-19, understanding the role of viral load could help tailor public health measures and patient care.

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