House Republicans will work to bring in “every” single employee involved in efforts to restrict the spread of reporting about the Hunter Biden laptop ahead of the 2020 election, an incoming chairman for a powerful committee vowed on Friday.
Rep. James Comer (R-KY), who is currently the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, made the declaration Friday night following the publication of internal Twitter communications about how to handle a New York Post story about the contents of the laptop believed to have belonged to President Joe Biden’s son, including details about Hunter’s business dealings, drug use, and sex life. The temporary suppression of the story has led to claims of improper election influence by former President Donald Trump and his allies.
“In January, Jason, when I take your old position as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, I can promise you this: Every employee at Twitter who was involved in suppressing the Hunter Biden laptop story will have an opportunity to come before Congress and explain their actions to the American people,” Comer told Jason Chaffetz, a former congressman who was guest-hosting in place of Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
“This was a huge story,” he added. Comer then went a bit further, saying, “This story’s just beginning … because we’re going to have every single person at Twitter that was involved in this in front of the House Oversight Committee as soon as possible.”
The string of Twitter messages were published Friday evening with the blessing of CEO Elon Musk by journalist Matt Taibbi, who said the decision to crack down on the reporting “was made at the highest levels of the company, but without the knowledge of CEO Jack Dorsey, with former head of legal, policy and trust Vijaya Gadde playing a key role.”
Among the other officials revealed to have been involved in discussions about the decision to limit the reach of the story under the site’s “hacked materials” policy was Twitter’s deputy general counsel, former top FBI lawyer James Baker. The disclosure led Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former Sr. Director, Head of Trust & Safety, to raise concerns about the potential for harm posed to those whose identities were revealed.
Some of the messages showed deliberations within Twitter as to how to respond to requests from the “Biden team” (likely the presidential campaign of Joe Biden, Hunter’s father) and the “DNC” (likely the Democratic National Committee), apparently asking to delete certain tweets.
Taibbi stressed that he has seen no evidence of “any government involvement in the laptop story,” though he noted several sources who recalled hearing about a “general” warning from federal law enforcement that summer about possible foreign hacks. The journalist also said “both parties” had the ability to request that certain posts be reviewed and deleted. “For instance, in 2020, requests from both the Trump White House and the Biden campaign were received and honored,” Taibbi tweeted, adding that the system appeared to be skewed in favor of the Democrats.
During the interview, Comer explained how Republicans have already made moves to prepare for taking over the House in the next term.
“We knew that the [Democratic] National Committee was communicating with Twitter. We knew the Biden campaign was communicating with Twitter,” Comer said. “That’s why, in April of this year, we, on the House Oversight Committee, requested that Twitter preserve all documents and correspondence between Twitter executives and the [Democratic] National Committee and the Biden campaign with respect to the Hunter Biden laptop story.”