President Trump's escalating feud with CNN may bleed into the regulatory review of AT&T's proposed $85 billion merger with Time Warner, according to Michaele Grynbaum in The New York Times:

"White House advisers have discussed a potential point of leverage over their adversary, a senior administration official said: a pending merger between CNN's parent company, Time Warner, and AT&T. Mr. Trump's Justice Department will decide whether to approve the merger, and while analysts say there is little to stop the deal from moving forward, the president's animus toward CNN remains a wild card."

Flashback: Trump signaled his opposition to the deal with it was first announced last October, and reiterated it in an interview with Axios just before his inauguration (although he also admitted that "I haven't seen any of the facts yet").

Why it matters: There could be a chilling effect on M&A activity if it was believed that the Department of Justice would block a merger — or require applicants make certain concessions — due to a political beef between an applicant and the White House. It also would be sure to spark legal challenges.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Science

How the brain handles the unknown

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Uncertainty can be hard for humans. It drives anxiety, an emotion neuroscientists are trying to understand and psychologists are trying to better treat.

Why it matters: Under the threat of a virus, job insecurity, election uncertainty, and a general pandemic life-in-limbo that is upending school, holidays and more, people are especially anxious.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 34,103,279 — Total deaths: 1,016,167 — Total recoveries: 23,694,869Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 7,255,546 — Total deaths: 207,374 — Total recoveries: 2,840,688 — Total tests: 103,939,667Map.
  3. Politics: House prepares to pass revised COVID relief bill as White House talks hit roadblock.
  4. Health: Health officials urge flu shots, warning of "twindemic" with COVID-19 — Coronavirus infections rise in 25 states.
  5. Business: Remdesivir is good business for Gilead.
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump pushes back on changes to upcoming presidential debates

Photo: Jim Watson, Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump suggested Thursday that he'll resist any moves that could cut off candidates' microphones in the next debate if he continues to talk over his opponent and the moderator.

  • "Why would I allow the Debate Commission to change the rules for the second and third Debates when I easily won last time?" he tweeted.

The big picture: White House and campaign officials insist Trump is still committed to two remaining debates, despite fallout from Tuesday including poor reviews and discussions of new guardrails.

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