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The U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust chief Makan Delrahim reportedly had some fighting words in regards to the department’s lawsuit to block the proposed deal between AT&T and Time Warner.

“He’s talkin’ a little trash,” CNBC’s David Farber said as he reported on Delrahim’s recent comments to a group of EU antitrust practitioners at the College of Europe’s Global Competition Law Center.

“In the U.S. we now have thousands of vertical merger experts, who somehow think we haven’t enforced anything in 50 years,” Delrahim told EU antirust practitioners. “We are 30 lawyers against 700, but as my rabbi used to say, David beat Goliath for a reason: because he was right.”

Farber pointed out that comments like these may stamp out thoughts for the possibility of a settlement ahead of the trial, which is set to start March 19 and could set the course for future mergers and acquisitions, and antitrust enforcement.

The remarks also come one day after U.S. District Judge Richard Leon denied AT&T’s request to gain access to communication logs between the DOJ and the White House in a bid to potentially uncover evidence that the Trump admiration had any influence on the Justice Department’s decision to try to block the deal.

Judge Leon said that AT&T was not able to show that it had been singled out or treated differently than other companies.

“Defendants have fallen far short of establishing that this enforcement action was selective,” Judge Leon said.

The decision was a big win for the DOJ, but could hamper AT&T’s defense. The telecom giant has suggested that political pressure—particularly statements by President Trump that the deal was bad for consumers and the country, as well as his hostility toward Time Warner’s CNN—played a part in unfairly putting the proposed $85 billion deal in the hot seat.

“We respect the judge’s decision and look forward to the upcoming trial,” Dan Petrocelli, lead trial lawyer for both Time Warner and AT&T, told the New York Times.

 

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