DOJ Antitrust Chief Makan Delrahim To Step Down On Jan. 19

Makan Delrahim, the chief of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, is departing on January 19, the day before Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Delrahim submitted his resignation to Donald Trump on Wednesday, in a letter in which he outlined the accomplishments of the division during his tenure. He cited an effort to review the division’s 1,200 consent decrees, which led to the termination of 850 of them, including the Paramount consent decrees. He also cited the launch of a major antitrust lawsuit against Google and an investigation of major tech platforms. He also announced a reorganization of the division last year.

Delrahim will join the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania.

“During my tenure as Assistant Attorney General, the Division successfully enforced the competition laws and implemented transformative policy and organizational initiatives that will bear fruit for both American consumers and entrepreneurs for years to come,” Delrahim wrote in the letter.

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He did not specifically mention the Justice Department’s lawsuit to block the merger of AT&T with Time Warner, leading to a landmark trial in 2018. A judge ruled in favor of AT&T, and a federal appellate court upheld the decision. Before the trial, AT&T and Time Warner sought to pursue the claim that the lawsuit was motivated by Trump’s animus toward CNN, but the judge in the case, Richard Leon, denied such discovery. Delrahim denied the claims of Trump’s influence.

During his tenure, Delrahim also launched a review of the consent decrees that govern music licensing, and held a public workshop on the issue.

Before he was confirmed as chief of the antitrust division, Delrahim was in the White House counsel’s office, working on the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Before joining the administration, he was in private practice in Los Angeles at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.

Biden, who has nominated Merrick Garland as the next attorney general, has yet to announce a nominee to lead the Antitrust Division.

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