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US antitrust community rocked by allegations of political interference in DOJ decision-making
03 July 2020 00:00
The notion that decisions on antitrust investigations and merger reviews are made by the US Department of Justice at arm’s length from politics was challenged last month, with whistleblowers in the department suggesting the Trump administration interfered with the process. DOJ prosecutor John Elias told a US Congressional hearing about interference by DOJ leadership in decisions to open multiple investigations. The first was a probe of the car industry, following a deal struck by the state of California with four automakers on emissions standards — something that irked President Donald Trump. The second was an intervention by Attorney General William Barr to initiate burdensome reviews of 10 different acquisitions involving legal marijuana companies.
John Elias, a prosecutor at the US Department of Justice's antitrust division, testified before the House Judiciary Committee about political pressure from Attorney General William Barr.
Attorney General Barr ordered cannabis merger investigation over staff objections, US DOJ whistleblower saysUS Attorney General Bill Barr last year ordered the in-depth probe of a cannabis industry merger that later collapsed, overruling Justice Department staff.