The Justice Dept. vs. Google


  • The Justice Department filed a sweeping antitrust lawsuit against Google yesterday, accusing the company of illegally maintaining a monopoly on search traffic and search advertising in the government’s boldest challenge to Big Tech in a generation.

  • Eleven Republican state attorneys general signed on to support the federal lawsuit yesterday, and seven more states — including New York — may soon file a separate lawsuit against Google, Letitia James, New York’s attorney general, announced yesterday. She said that if those states moved forward with their suit against Google, they would join up with the feds.

  • Google objected to the Justice Department’s suit, calling it “deeply flawed.” But consumer advocates were joined by lawmakers in both parties in hailing the move.

  • David Cicilline, a Democratic congressman and the chairman of the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, wrote in a tweet yesterday: “This step is long overdue. It is time to restore competition online.”

  • President Trump has other priorities for the department, too. Yesterday he publicly urged William Barr, the attorney general, to open an investigation into Hunter Biden, the son of Joe Biden.

  • It wasn’t out of character, but it was nevertheless an extraordinary move for a sitting president to openly call on the attorney general to pursue his political enemies.

  • Trump made the remarks on “Fox and Friends,” seizing on an unsubstantiated New York Post report about the Bidens and Ukraine. Barr “has to act,” Trump said.

  • The evidence in the article was provided by Trump allies, and Biden’s campaign has rejected the report. Social media companies have treated it with suspicion. The reporter who wrote most of the Post article was in fact so doubtful of its veracity that he did not allow his byline to be used on the piece.

  • The Trump campaign is facing a cash crunch just two weeks from Election Day. New filings show that the president’s campaign committee entered October with just $63.1 million in the bank.

  • That left Trump badly trailing Biden, who reported $177.3 million in cash on hand for the final stretch of the campaign. The money in both candidates’ main campaign committee coffers is what pays for many of the race’s most important costs, including most television ads.

  • It’s a sharp reversal: Biden struggled for cash throughout the Democratic primary, and Trump’s former campaign manager once compared the Republican incumbent’s war chest to the Death Star from “Star Wars.”

  • Now, though, the filings paint a different picture. Together with its shared committees with the Republican National Committee, the Trump campaign had $251.4 million on hand at the start of October. That was also far short of Biden’s campaign and its joint committees with the Democratic National Committee, which had $432 million in the bank.

  • Trump cut short an interview taping yesterday with Lesley Stahl of “60 Minutes,” then took his grievances straight to Twitter.

  • He posted a photo of Stahl in the White House after the interview, not wearing a mask, in an apparent attempt to publicly shame her — for conduct he engages in regularly. (Stahl had worn her mask until just before the start of taping, according to a person familiar with the interview; the photo was shot just after the interview ended.)

  • Then Trump threatened to post footage of the interview before its stated broadcast date on Sunday, calling her questions “FAKE and BIASED.”

  • The New York Times and Siena College released a poll yesterday showing Georgia in a dead heat, with Trump and Biden each receiving the support of 45 percent of likely voters.

  • The poll found that Democrats had made gains since last month in both of the state’s hotly contested Senate races. Jon Ossoff is now running even with his Republican opponent, Senator David Perdue, and the Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock is now the front-runner in a special election for the state’s other seat. (He is likely to face a runoff against the top vote-getting Republican.)

  • Trump’s lead of 12 percentage points among college-educated white voters in Georgia is far better than his national numbers, but historically bad for a Republican candidate in the state, where white voters typically swing heavily Republican.

  • Biden garnered the support of 28 percent of white voters over all, compared with 21 percent who went for Hillary Clinton in 2016, according to exit polls.

  • Among Black voters, the trend was different: Biden had 81 percent support, compared with 89 percent for Clinton four years ago.

  • While Trump presents himself as a hardened foe of the Chinese state, his business dealings have often put him in close contact with the government there, and he even forged a partnership with a major government-controlled company, according to a Times report released yesterday.

  • Trump unsuccessfully pursued business ventures in China for a decade, and operated an office there during his first run for president. China is one of only three foreign countries where the president maintains a bank account, according to his tax records. The others are Britain and Ireland.

  • The revelations stem from the same Times investigation that uncovered nearly 20 years of Trump’s tax returns last month, and that has led to a string of other revelations.

  • The Chinese bank account is controlled by Trump International Hotels Management L.L.C., which paid over $188,000 in taxes to China while pursuing deals there from 2013 to 2015, according to tax records.

  • For most of Trump’s presidency, China’s biggest state-controlled bank continued to rent three floors in Trump Tower, a lucrative arrangement that opened up the president to accusations of a conflict of interest.

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