The Justice Department is reportedly planning to bring antitrust charges against Google in the coming weeks after Attorney General William Barr decided to move forward over the objections of DOJ lawyers who say they need more preparation time to prosecute the massive technology company.
The DOJ’s antitrust division opened its probe into Google last summer to investigate the interactions between the tech giant’s search business and its other revenue streams. Another probe also launched last year is investigating competition concerns related to large tech companies including Good, Amazon, and Facebook.
Some of the more than three dozen lawyers preparing the case against Google’s parent company Alphabet said they felt the deadline imposed on them by the DOJ to finish their work was arbitrary and could weaken their case, the New York Times reported Friday. The prosecutors have reportedly voiced concerns that Barr was prioritizing the antitrust case in order to take credit for cracking down on a large tech firm during the Trump administration. Justice Department officials instructed the lawyers to finish their preparations for the case by the end of September.
The concerns about Google’s powerful position in the tech landscape have become a bipartisan concern, but Republicans and Democrats have butted heads over when to bring the antitrust case, each accusing the another of attempting to time the case so it is brought under an administration run by their party. Republicans have charged Democrats with trying to delay the case until a Biden administration.
The CEOs of Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon testified before the House Judiciary Committee in July as part of the antitrust investigation, a longtime priority for Barr.
President Trump has accused Google of bias against conservative content and of trying to “illegally subvert the 2020 election,” a claim the company has denied.
“We are watching Google very closely!” Trump wrote in a tweet in August of last year, shortly after the Justice Department’s antitrust probe was launched.