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L-R Carl Hittinger and Tyson Herrold, Baker Hostetler.

In July and August, we discussed the president’s role in setting antitrust policy at the Department of Justice, Antitrust Division. Specifically, we pointed out that presidents routinely face ­competing domestic and foreign policy challenges that require a delicate balance and flexible approach to antitrust enforcement. For example, President John F. Kennedy directed the DOJ to investigate the steel industry for price fixing because of concerns about labor strikes and monetary inflation. Likewise, President Harry S. Truman chose not to pursue criminal antitrust charges against the oil industry because of national security concerns, specifically the threat of a political coup in Iran and concerns that the Soviet Union would encroach American interests in the Middle East. Therefore, we concluded that the Antitrust Division has not historically (and should not be ­constitutionally) completely independent from the White House.

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