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The Justice Department is expected to file an antitrust lawsuit against Google as soon as this month, according to two people familiar with the matter, after Attorney General William P. Barr overruled dozens of federal attorneys who initially signaled the U.S. government was not ready to bring such a landmark case.
The competition inquiry, which began last year, focuses on Google’s sprawling search and advertising empire and the extent to which it harms rivals and consumers. Federal officials have sought to expedite their work in recent weeks, aiming to file a complaint ideally before the 2020 presidential election, said the two people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a law enforcement proceeding.
However, based on my experience working for Barr (I was part of a large, multi-firm group of lawyers that Barr oversaw during the telecom litigation of the mid-1990s), I can say that he’s an aggressive, hard-charging litigator. He pushes lawyers hard and likes to see litigation move forward.
It’s easy for me to imagine that, absent any partisan political motive (he had none in the telecom litigation), Barr would press DOJ lawyers to move faster than they feel comfortable doing. Working for Barr is a rewarding experience, but not always a comfortable one.