If Then

Welcome to the Swamp

A former Department of Justice antitrust official says the problems with the AT&T–Time Warner merger run much deeper than Michael Cohen.

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On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about an unexpected move by President Trump that could save the Chinese electronics-maker ZTE. Also in the news is Project Maven, a Pentagon project to build A.I. for drones that Google has been working on. This week, it was reported that around a dozen Google employees quit over the company’s involvement in the project.

The hosts discuss what one Apple blogger calls “one of the biggest design screwups in Apple history,” which has led to a class-action lawsuit. They also break down a major vulnerability in email encryption.

Later, April and Will are joined by antitrust expert Gene Kimmelman. He’s the president and CEO of Public Knowledge, a nonprofit that focuses on tech policy research and advocacy. He formerly served as chief counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division under President Obama, during which time the NBC–Comcast merger was approved. They talk to him about AT&T’s antitrust trial with the DOJ as the company attempts to acquire Time Warner for $85 billion. If approved, that deal could reshape the future of how people connect to the internet, how they get their news and entertainment, and the future of mega-mergers proposed under Trump. And then there’s the recent revelation that AT&T hired Trump attorney Michael Cohen as a consultant last year.

Stories discussed on the show:

Don’t Close My Tabs

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

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You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.

If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.