Makan Delrahim

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Makan Delrahim
Makan Delrahim official photo.jpg
United States Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division
Assumed office
September 28, 2017
President Donald Trump
Preceded by William Baer
Deputy White House Counsel
In office
January 20, 2017 – September 28, 2017
President Donald Trump
Personal details
Born (1969-11-02) November 2, 1969 (age 48)
Tehran, Iran
Education University of California, Los Angeles
George Washington University Law School

Makan Delrahim is a lawyer and lobbyist who is the current United States Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division serving under Attorney General Jeff Sessions.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

When Delrahim was 10 years old, his family immigrated to the United States from Iran as Jewish political refugees.[2] Delrahim struggled in school because he did not speak English, and worked at his father's gas station outside Los Angeles.[2] In 1991, Delrahim graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a degree in kinesiology.[2] In 1995, he received his Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law School.[2]

Law career[edit]

After law school, Delrahim joined the Patton Boggs law firm.[2] In 1998, Delrahim became a counsel to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, working under Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT).[2] Jon Leibowitz, who was then a Democratic Senate aide and worked with Delrahim, remembered him as being a pragmatist.[2]

From 2003 through 2005, Delrahim served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division in the administration of President George W. Bush.[3] While there, he worked on the Division’s failed lawsuit attempting to block the acquisition of PeopleSoft by Oracle Corporation.[2]

Delrahim next joined the law firm of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, where his clients included Anthem Inc., Qualcomm, Comcast, and Zuffa.[4] While at the firm, he also worked as a lobbyist for Comcast, Google, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Johnson & Johnson, and Ultimate Fighting Championship.[2]

Donald Trump presidency[edit]

In March 2016, Delrahim published an op-ed in the New York Post arguing that due to the importance of future U.S. Supreme Court nominations, Republicans should support Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.[5]

In October 2016, Delrahim commented on AT&T's proposed $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner while appearing on Canada's Business News Network, saying "I don't see this as a major antitrust problem."[6][7]

After Trump's victory in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Delrahim was active in Trump's presidential transition. After the inauguration of Donald Trump, Delrahim became Deputy White House Counsel and assisted in shepherding United States Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch through the United States Senate confirmation process.

Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Division[edit]

In March 2017, Trump announced his nomination of Delrahim as Assistant Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division.[8][9] This role, which required U.S. Senate confirmation, entails overseeing corporate mergers and acquisitions.[4] In September 2017, he was approved 73-21 by the Senate.[10][11] When he arrived on the job he was gifted a hat with "Makan Antitrust Great Again" written upon it.[6]

When interviewed, Delrahim said he was worried the European Commissioner for Competition was bringing complaints motivated by protectionism.[2] He also emphasized that a monopoly is legal as long as it does not abuse its monopoly power.[2] Delrahim has given speeches arguing the behavioral remedies in consent decrees are ineffective and that antitrust enforcers should instead employ structural remedies such as divestment.[12]

On November 20, 2017, Delrahim filed a lawsuit under Section 7 of the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 to block AT&T's $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner.[13] AT&T CEO Randall L. Stephenson then announced his company would defend the acquisition, emphasized that no vertical merger had been challenged in forty years, and implied that the Justice Department had been influenced by President Trump's frequent public criticism of Time Warner's CNN.[12] On June 12, 2018, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon rejected all of the government's claims and refused to block the merger.[14] Delrahim and the Department of Justice filed a notice of appeal to this outcome on July 12, 2018.[15]

On May 29, 2018, Delrahim approved Bayer's $66 billion acquisition of Monsanto.[16][17] On June 27, Delrahim approved Disney-Fox merger after only six months of review which is unusual for big M&A deals[18] His respond which he called "Great for American consumers" sparked massive criticism on the internet with some calling him a "Trump puppet"[19][20][21]


  1. ^ Barber, C. Ryan (March 28, 2017). "What to Know About Makan Delrahim, Trump's Antitrust Division Pick". The National Law Journal. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Kang, Cecilia (April 26, 2017). "How Trump's Pick for Top Antitrust Cop May Shape Competition". The New York Times. p. A15. Retrieved April 27, 2017. 
  3. ^ Kendall, Brent (March 17, 2017). "Makan Delrahim to Be Trump's Pick for Antitrust Chief at Justice Department". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Bartz, Diana; Herbst-Bayliss, Svea (March 17, 2017). "Exclusive: Delrahim to head Justice Department antitrust unit - sources". Reuters. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  5. ^ Delrahim, Makan (March 10, 2016). "To save the Supreme Court, vote Trump over Clinton". New York Post. Retrieved April 27, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b Kang, Cecilia (November 10, 2017). "AT&T Deal Puts Trump's Antitrust Cop at Center of a Political Storm". The New York Times. p. B1. Retrieved November 21, 2017. 
  7. ^ "No big worries in AT&T deal for Time Warner". Business News Network. October 24, 2016. Retrieved November 21, 2017. 
  8. ^ Kang, Cecilia (March 28, 2017). "Trump Appoints One of His Lawyers to Review Mergers". The New York Times. p. B6. Retrieved April 27, 2017. 
  9. ^ Pres. Nom. 249, 115th Cong. (2017).
  10. ^ "Attorney General Jeff Sessions Welcomes Makan Delrahim as Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division | OPA | Department of Justice". Retrieved September 28, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Trump's Top Merger Watchdog Approved". Bloomberg. Retrieved September 28, 2017. 
  12. ^ a b Kang, Cecilia; Merced, Michael J. de la (November 21, 2017). "U.S. Sues to Stop AT&T's Takeover of Time Warner - New Tack on Antitrust - Regulators Seek Sale of Assets — AT&T Says Suit 'Defies Logic'". The New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved November 21, 2017. 
  13. ^ Fung, Brian (November 21, 2017). "The Justice Department is suing AT&T to block its $85 billion bid for Time Warner". The Washington Post. p. A1. Retrieved November 21, 2017. 
  14. ^ Kang, Cecilia; Lee, Edmund; Cochrane, Emily (13 June 2018). "AT&T Wins Approval for $85.4 Billion Time Warner Deal in Defeat for Justice Dept". The New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved 14 June 2018. 
  15. ^ "Trump Antitrust Boss Restarts AT&T-Time Warner Fight With Appeal". Retrieved 2018-07-12. 
  16. ^ McLaughlin, David; Mulvany, Lydia; Kresge, Naomi (29 May 2018). "Bayer Wins U.S. Approval for Monsanto After Two-Year Quest". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 14 June 2018. 
  17. ^ Press release (29 May 2018). "Justice Department Secures Largest Negotiated Merger Divestiture Ever to Preserve Competition Threatened by Bayer's Acquisition of Monsanto". United States Department of Justice. Retrieved 14 June 2018. 
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