Trump calls for boycott of television network CNN on Twitter

WASHINGTON, Nov 29 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump urged a boycott of CNN on Wednesday, ramping up his fight against the television network as his administration fights AT&T Inc's deal to buy CNN's owner Time Warner Inc.

Trump has criticized the proposed deal, which the Justice Department has sued to stop. Legal experts have said the president's attacks on CNN could hobble his administration's case.

The president, who regularly assails mainstream media, has long criticized CNN, calling the network "fake news" and saying he no longer watches it, while lauding rival Fox News. His call for a boycott appeared to be a step up in his attacks.

RELATED: See photos from Trump's meeting with Native American WWII vets earlier this week

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President Trump meets with Native American World War II veterans
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President Trump meets with Native American World War II veterans
US President Donald Trump greets Navajo veterans in the Oval Office of the White House during an event honoring Native American code talkers who served in World War II on November 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he hosts an event honouring the Native American code talkers, including Thomas Begay (L) and Peter McDonald, in front of a painting of President Andrew Jackson, at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump hosts an event honouring the Native American code talkers, including Thomas Begay (L) and Peter McDonald, in front of a painting of President Andrew Jackson, at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Navajo Code Talker Thomas Begay laughs after handing his card to U.S. President Donald Trump at an event honouring the group for their contributions during World War Two at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump hosts an event honouring the Native American code talkers, including Thomas Begay (L) and Peter McDonald, in front of a painting of President Andrew Jackson, at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump reacts as he honours Navajo Code Talkers for their contributions during World War Two at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump greets Navajo Code Talkers as he honours their contributions during World War Two as they take part in an event at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Navajo Code Talker Thomas Begay hands a card to U.S. President Donald Trump at an event honouring the group for their contributions during World War Two at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump, right, shakes hands with a World War II veteran during an event honoring Native American 'Code Talkers' inside the Oval Officer of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Nov. 27, 2017. Trump punctuated a meeting with Native American veterans on Monday by calling Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren 'Pocahontas' -- a racially-tinged nickname he's deployed for years to belittle one of his chief Democratic antagonists. Photographer: Oliver Contreras/Pool via Bloomberg
A Navajo World War II veteran speaks during an event honoring Native American 'Code Talkers' inside the Oval Officer of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Nov. 27, 2017. President Donald Trump punctuated a meeting with Native American veterans on Monday by calling Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren 'Pocahontas' -- a racially-tinged nickname he's deployed for years to belittle one of his chief Democratic antagonists. Photographer: Oliver Contreras/Pool via Bloomberg
U.S. President Donald Trump, second right, shakes hands with a World War II veteran during an event honoring Native American 'Code Talkers' inside the Oval Officer of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Nov. 27, 2017. Trump punctuated a meeting with Native American veterans on Monday by calling Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren 'Pocahontas' -- a racially-tinged nickname he's deployed for years to belittle one of his chief Democratic antagonists. Photographer: Oliver Contreras/Pool via Bloomberg
U.S. President Donald Trump, center, speaks with World War II veterans during an event honoring Native American 'Code Talkers' inside the Oval Officer of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Nov. 27, 2017. Trump punctuated a meeting with Native American veterans on Monday by calling Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren 'Pocahontas' -- a racially-tinged nickname he's deployed for years to belittle one of his chief Democratic antagonists. Photographer: Oliver Contreras/Pool via Bloomberg
U.S. President Donald Trump, center, speaks with World War II veterans during an event honoring Native American 'Code Talkers' inside the Oval Officer of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Nov. 27, 2017. Trump punctuated a meeting with Native American veterans on Monday by calling Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren 'Pocahontas' -- a racially-tinged nickname he's deployed for years to belittle one of his chief Democratic antagonists. Photographer: Oliver Contreras/Pool via Bloomberg
U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks during an event honoring World War II veteran Native American 'Code Talkers' inside the Oval Officer of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Nov. 27, 2017. Trump punctuated a meeting with Native American veterans on Monday by calling Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren 'Pocahontas' -- a racially-tinged nickname he's deployed for years to belittle one of his chief Democratic antagonists. Photographer: Oliver Contreras/Pool via Bloomberg
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 27: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump (R) greets members of the Native American code talkers during an event in the Oval Office of the White House, on November 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump stated, 'You were here long before any of us were here. Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.' in reference to his nickname for Sen. Elizabeth Warren. World War II Navajo Code Talker and Iwo Jima survivor Thomas Begay is one of the last surviving code talkers. (Photo by Oliver Contreras-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 27: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump (L) hosts members of the Native American code talkers during an event in the Oval Office of the White House, on November 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump stated, 'You were here long before any of us were here. Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.' in reference to his nickname for Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (Photo by Oliver Contreras-Pool/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump greets Navajo veterans in the Oval Office of the White House during an event honoring Native American code talkers who served in World War II November 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A portrait of the 7th US President Andrew Jackson, who signed the Indian Removal Act, is seen as a Navajo Code Talker speaks during an event in the Oval Office of the White House with US President Donald Trump to honor Native American code talkers November 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 27: World War II Navajo Code Talker and Iwo Jima survivor Thomas Begay (L) poses for photographs after he arrives at the White House November 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. One of the last surviving code talkers, Begay is scheduled to participate in an event with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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"Great, and we should boycott Fake News CNN. Dealing with them is a total waste of time!," Trump wrote in a Twitter post.

Trump was responding to a post by his spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, who in her own post on Tuesday night praised reports that CNN would not attend an annual holiday party held at the White House for news media.

It was not immediately clear if Trump in his post was calling for a wider boycott against CNN or one by White House staff. Representatives for the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Representatives for CNN also did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump's tweet on Wednesday. A CNN spokesperson told Politico that it would not attend the party "in light of the President's continued attacks on freedom of the press and CNN" but would send a reporting crew to cover the event, Politico reported on Tuesday.

RELATED: States with the highest and lowest Trump job approval ratings

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States with the highest and lowest Trump job approval ratings
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States with the highest and lowest Trump job approval ratings

Idaho

Approval rating: 50% or higher

(Photo via Getty Images)

Utah

Approval rating: 50% or higher

(Photo via Getty Images)

Montana

Approval rating: 50% or higher

(Photo via Getty Images)

Wyoming

Approval rating: 50% or higher

(Photo via Getty Images)

North Dakota

Approval rating: 50% or higher

(Photo by Ben Harding via Getty Images)

South Dakota

Approval rating: 50% or higher

(Photo via Getty Images)

Nebraska

Approval rating: 50% or higher

(Photo via Getty Images)

Kansas

Approval rating: 50% or higher

(Photo via Shutterstock)

Oklahoma

Approval rating: 50% or higher

(Photo via Getty Images)

Arkansas

Approval rating: 50% or higher

(Photo via Getty Images)

Louisiana

Approval rating: 50% or higher

(Photo via Getty Images)

Alabama

Approval rating: 50% or higher

(Photo via Getty Images)

South Carolina

Approval rating: 50% or higher

(Photo by Sean Pavone via Getty Images)

Tennessee 

Approval rating: 50% or higher

(Photo via Getty Images)

Kentucky

Approval rating: 50% or higher

(Photo via Getty Images)

West Virginia

Approval rating: 50% or higher

(Photo by Stan Rohrer via Getty Images)

Alaska

Approval rating: 50% or higher

(Photo via Getty Images)

Massachusetts

Approval rating: Below 40%

(Photo via Getty Images)

Vermont

Approval rating: Below 40%

(Photo via Getty Images)

Rhode Island

Approval rating: Below 40%

(Photo by Kenneth C. Zirkel via Getty Images)

Connecticut

Approval rating: Below 40%

(Photo via Getty Images)

New Jersey

Approval rating: Below 40%

(Photo via Getty Images)

New York

Approval rating: Below 40%

(Photo via Getty Images)

Delaware

Approval rating: Below 40%

(Photo via Getty Images)

Maryland

Approval rating: Below 40%

(Photo via Getty Images)

Virginia

Approval rating: Below 40%

(Photo via Getty Images)

Illinois

Approval rating: Below 40%

(Photo via Getty Images)

Minnesota

Approval rating: Below 40%

(Photo via Getty Images)

Colorado

Approval rating: Below 40%

(Photo via Getty Images)

New Mexico

Approval rating: Below 40%

(Photo via Getty Images)

Washington

Approval rating: Below 40%

(Photo via Getty Images)

Oregon

Approval rating: Below 40%

(Photo via Getty Images)

California

Approval rating: Below 40%

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Hawaii

Approval rating: Below 40%

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The network and its journalists have repeatedly defended CNN's work against previous presidential attacks.

The Department of Justice's challenge is unusual move given that pay TV and wireless company AT&T does not directly compete with TV show maker Time Warner. The department has said the lawsuit is a law enforcement decision, not a political one.

(Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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