Sparks flew at a House Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday as firebrands on both sides of the aisle grilled former Twitter executives who were there to testify about the October 2020 suppression of Hunter Biden‘s laptop.
More specifically, House Republicans’ concerns center around Twitter temporarily restricting the circulation of a New York Post story on President Joe Biden‘s son, the basis of which were emails, photos and other files gleaned from a laptop hard drive supposedly belonging to him.
Ocasio-Cortez tore into the laptop story as ‘half fake’ and accused Republicans of ‘weaponizing’ the Oversight panel in order to ‘inject’ it back into the media narrative.
Greene, meanwhile, attacked the Twitter executives – mainly former Global Head of Trust and Security Yoel Roth – for the removal of her own personal account for violating the platform’s COVID-19 misinformation policy.
Progressive New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used her hearing time to highlight Twitter changing its rules to suit Donald Trump’s needs
Meanwhile, conservative Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene railed against the former Twitter executives for banning her personal account until late last year
The outspoken Georgia congresswoman accused Roth of allowing child pornography on Twitter, without providing evidence, and told him point-blank that he ‘disgusts’ her.
‘I’m so glad you’ve lost your jobs. Thank God Elon Musk bought Twitter,’ Greene told the former executives.
‘And you know what, let’s talk about something a little bit further. It’s amazing to me, Mr. Roth, as the head and trust of safety at Twitter – your ability, or should I say inability, to remove child porn? Here’s something that disgusts me about you.’
She then echoed conspiracy theories circulated by Musk, Twitter’s new billionaire owner, which Roth addressed earlier in his opening remarks and have said they ‘led directly to a wave of homophobic and anti-Semitic threats and harassment against me.’
Roth did not respond to those accusations, but rather directed his answer at Greene’s claim that the removal of her Twitter account amounted to political suppression.
‘My recollection is that her personal account was banned from Twitter after repeated written notices due to repeated violations of the Twitter rules,’ Roth said.
Earlier in the hearing, Ocasio-Cortez turned her ire toward the Republican majority for even holding the event in the first place.
‘We can be talking about healthcare, we can be talking about bringing down the cost of prescription drugs. We can be talking about abortion rights, civil rights, voting rights,’ the New York progressive said.
House Republicans’ concerns center around Twitter temporarily restricting the circulation of a New York Post story on President Joe Biden’s son, the basis of which were emails, photos and other files gleaned from a laptop hard drive supposedly belonging to him
‘But instead we’re talking about Hunter Biden’s half fake laptop story. I mean, this is an embarrassment.’
Then launching into her own line of questioning, Ocasio-Cortez grilled Twitter whistleblower and former content moderator Anika Collier Navaroli on a 2019 situation in which the platform changed its policies after Donald Trump was found to have violated them.
The specific tweet in question told members of the House ‘Squad’ – a group of nonwhite progressive lawmakers – to ‘go back where they came from.’
Navaroli said on Wednesday that she found the tweet violated Twitter’s hate speech policy against immigrants, which used that exact phrasing as an example of a ban-able offense.
When escalated, however, Navaroli claimed her assessment was overturned and the policy then promptly changed to remove that language.
‘So Twitter changed their own policy, after the president violated it, in order to potentially accommodate his tweet,’ Ocasio-Cortez concluded of Trump.
‘So much for bias against right-wing on Twitter.’
The laptop allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden that’s at the center of Wednesday’s hearing includes what appear to be emails about his foreign business dealings, as well as raunchy images of the recovering drug addict smoking cigarettes and holding crack pipes – including while nude.
Both Roth and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey both admitted that temporarily surpressing the New York Post story was the wrong way to handle the situation.
Roth echoed that sentiment on Wednesday, but stood by the company’s removal of nude photos of Hunter Biden – which Roth understood to have been posted without his consent.
Just before the hearing began, the White House issued a fierce condemnation of Republicans for holding it at all.
‘The morning after President Biden delivered a State of the Union Address emphasizing the significant progress we’ve made as a nation to generate historic job and economic growth and the work still to be done to address Americans’ top priorities like tackling inflation, raising wages, and investing in manufacturing and infrastructure jobs, House Republicans are making it their top priority to stage a bizarre political stunt,’ White House Counsel’s Office spokesman Ian Sams said.
‘This appears to be the latest effort by the House Republican majority’s most extreme MAGA members to question and relitigate the outcome of the 2020 election. This is not what the American people want their leaders to work on.
‘As the President has said and made his focus, the American people expect their leaders to work together in a bipartisan way on the issues that most impact their lives and their families, not attack his family with long-debunked conspiracy theories.’
He called on House Republicans to instead ‘join the President to focus on the work both parties can do together to create more jobs, lower costs, and strengthen the quality of life for all Americans.’
‘That is what the President will continue to prioritize, and House Republicans would be wise to do the same,’ Sams said.