A senior Democrat has revealed that when his party takes control of the United States House of Representatives, members plan to investigate the Trump administration’s meddling into AT&T and Amazon’s business dealings.
The issues that will be looked at include Trump’s attempt to block AT&T from acquiring Time Warner, and whether White House officials wanted to punish Amazon by getting the U.S. Post Office to boost shipping prices for the eCommerce giant.
According to Reuters, Representative Adam Schiff, who is expected to be the incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Democrats will look into whether Trump used the powers of the federal government to punish the companies.
Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post, while Time Warner’s holdings include CNN. Trump has railed against both outlets, calling them “fake news,” and has even banned one of CNN's reporters from White House press briefings.
“It is very squarely within our responsibility to find out,” Schiff said in an interview that is scheduled to air Sunday (November 11) on HBO.
Schiff added that Trump “was secretly meeting with the postmaster (general) in an effort to browbeat the postmaster into raising postal rates on Amazon ... This appears to be an effort by the president to use the instruments of state power to punish Jeff Bezos and the Washington Post.”
AT&T and Amazon both declined to comment, while the White House did not immediately comment.
In April, Trump attacked Amazon on Twitter, writing, “I am right about Amazon costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy.” As a result, earlier this month it was announced that the USPS wants Amazon to pay 9 percent to 12 percent more for its shipping services.
Still, Representative Elijah Cummings, who is expected to be incoming chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has promised there will be a “methodical” approach in the investigations. “I’m not going to be handing out subpoenas like somebody’s handing out candy on Halloween,” he said.