Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure and T-Mobile CEO John Legere announce the deal Sunday. Screenshot: Axios

Sprint and T-Mobile’s chief executives believe regulators will sign off on their proposed deal, they told Axios Sunday, but they're not basing their optimism on specific discussions with federal and state officials.

Why it matters: In the past, regulators have frowned on telecom mergers that would reduce the number of national players.

The details: T-Mobile CEO John Legere said the companies think that regulators will respond to one or more of three arguments: the deal will create jobs, bring prices down, and allow the US to compete with China and Korea.

  • "Those things together make us think that each constituent that has to look at this deal will see the things that they think are important in their policy decisions," Legere said.

But, but, but: "We haven’t had any conversations. We haven’t pre-sold ... the deal," Legere said. "Obviously, we have individual relationships especially with the FCC and multiple states that of course we can think about how they would look at things.”

The executives defended their claim the deal will create jobs, even though it seems likely that Sprint and T-Mobile would have overlapping operations in some areas, like retail.

  • Mike Sievert, COO of T-Mobile, said that the firms planned to build "hundreds of new stores, particularly further out into the suburbs and rural areas, that will unleash thousands of new jobs even in that area on a gross basis. Others may move around.”

The two companies expect the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to review the deal, because Sprint's majority shareholder is Japan's Softbank and T-Mobile is owned by the German Deutsche Telekom. "CFIUS will definitely opine," Legere said. "We don’t prejudge or anticipate any issues."

Go deeper

Updated 39 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 12,859,834 — Total deaths: 567,123 — Total recoveries — 7,062,085Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 3,297,501— Total deaths: 135,155 — Total recoveries: 1,006,326 — Total tested: 40,282,176Map.
  3. States: Florida smashes single-day record for new coronavirus cases with over 15,000 — NYC reports zero coronavirus deaths for first time since pandemic hit.
  4. Public health: Ex-FDA chief projects "apex" of South's coronavirus curve in 2-3 weeks — Coronavirus testing czar: Lockdowns in hotspots "should be on the table"
  5. Education: Betsy DeVos says schools that don't reopen shouldn't get federal funds — Pelosi accuses Trump of "messing with the health of our children."

Scoop: How the White House is trying to trap leakers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has told several White House staffers he's fed specific nuggets of information to suspected leakers to see if they pass them on to reporters — a trap that would confirm his suspicions. "Meadows told me he was doing that," said one former White House official. "I don't know if it ever worked."

Why it matters: This hunt for leakers has put some White House staffers on edge, with multiple officials telling Axios that Meadows has been unusually vocal about his tactics. So far, he's caught only one person, for a minor leak.

11 GOP congressional nominees support QAnon conspiracy

Lauren Boebert posing in her restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, on April 24. Photo: Emily Kask/AFP

At least 11 Republican congressional nominees have publicly supported or defended the QAnon conspiracy theory movement or some of its tenets — and more aligned with the movement may still find a way onto ballots this year.

Why it matters: Their progress shows how a fringe online forum built on unsubstantiated claims and flagged as a threat by the FBI is seeking a foothold in the U.S. political mainstream.