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Cramer: AT&T is 'a pitiful, helpless giant' without the Time Warner deal

AT&T would likely be "a pitiful, helpless giant" without its $85 billion merger with Time Warner, CNBC's Jim Cramer said Thursday.

Cramer spoke a day after the Justice Department demanded that AT&T sell Turner Broadcasting, which includes CNN, or sell DirecTV, as a condition for approval of the deal.

Cramer said the Justice Department "thesis" about the deal is flawed.

"This has got to be one of the more arbitrary and capricious potential prosecutions I've seen," Cramer said.

"I think the Justice Department is trying to create some sort of thesis that this is some sort of colossus," Cramer said on "Squawk on the Street." "Give me a break."

Some commentators questioned whether the Justice Department's demand was political because President Donald Trump has frequently criticized CNN for its coverage.

AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement he has never offered to sell CNN and does not have any intention of doing so.

Cramer was also perplexed why the Justice Department would want AT&T to sell DirecTV: "I mean where is the antitrust there?"

"One guy has NFL and the other is the beginning part of March Madness. I mean I don't get that," the host of CNBC's "Mad Money" said.