AT&T hit back at the US Department of Justice’s (DoJ) ongoing challenge to its acquisition of Time Warner, stating that both the law and market forces meant the deal would not harm competition.

The Wall Street Journal reported AT&T made the comments in a 59-page submission filed with a Washington DC appeals court. The operator wrote that “in the crucible of litigation, DoJ’s claims were exposed as both narrow and fragile”.

The DoJ argued a US trial judge failed to take into account economic principles and common sense in his decision to approve the deal. AT&T said the judge “well understood the economics” of the DoJ argument, but did not support that they would lead to increased prices.

The issue centres on the fact that post-merger, AT&T is both a content producer and distributor, and could increase prices charged to rivals for access to its programming, negatively impacting consumers.

CNN noted AT&T also reminded the court that US president Donald Trump had said he would block the deal during his election campaign and that he didn’t like one of its networks, CNN.

The operator said “many press outlets” had questioned whether the White House had improperly influenced the DoJ’s actions.

Reuters reported AT&T said it would manage Time Warner’s Turner cable television networks separately until February 2019, or the conclusion of the government appeal.

A date for oral arguments in the appeal is yet to be set.