By David McLaughlin and Benjamin Bain, Bloomberg News
President Donald Trump is poised to nominate Makan Delrahim, a former Justice Department lawyer and counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, to lead the department’s antitrust division, according to people familiar with the matter.
Trump recently gave final approval to Delrahim’s nomination, one of the people said. The decision could be announced as soon as next week, a second person said.
Currently working as a deputy in the Office of White House Counsel, Delrahim has been advising on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
Delrahim would take over the division as it’s reviewing several major proposed mergers, including pending tie-ups between AT&T Inc. and Time Warner Inc., Bayer AG and Monsanto Co., and Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. It’s also conducting a criminal investigation into alleged collusion among pharmaceutical companies to fix prices for generic drugs.
The nomination comes after one of most active periods in antitrust enforcement under the Obama administration, which opposed deals in the cable television, oil services and health insurance markets. The position requires confirmation by the Senate. It could be months before he is in the job as the Judiciary Committee, which would also take up his confirmation, considers Neil Gorsuch’s appointment to the Supreme Court.
The White House declined to comment on the antitrust position.
The assistant attorney general post would mark Delrahim’s second stint with the Justice Department, where he was a deputy assistant attorney general at the antitrust division under President George W. Bush from 2003 to 2005. In that position, he worked on international and appellate matters.
Delrahim was previously an attorney with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, where he lobbied for Pfizer Inc., Qualcomm Inc. and Caesars Entertainment Corp., among other companies, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. He also worked on Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick Inc.
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