- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 8, 2023

The White House went on offense Wednesday ahead of what is expected to be an explosive hearing on Capitol Hill as lawmakers prepare to face off with three former Twitter executives.

The House Oversight and Accountability Committee plans to home in on the social media platform’s censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story ahead of the 2020 election and Twitter’s collusion with federal agents to suppress free speech.

White House spokesman Ian Sams blasted Republicans on the committee for pulling a “bizarre political stunt.”

“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,” Mr. Sams said in a statement.

“This is not what the American people want their leaders to work on,” he added. “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.”

Twitter’s former chief legal officer Vijaya Gadde, former deputy general counsel James Baker and former head of trust and safety Yoel Roth will face lawmakers for the first time since Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, began releasing a trove of internal “Twitter Files” that showed the platform’s left-wing bent that fueled censorship of conservative viewpoints.

The hearing is the first in a series focused on “protecting speech from government interference and social media bias,” according to the committee. It also is the opening salvo in the committee’s probe into President Biden and his family’s long trail of suspicious business dealings.

“Immediately following the story’s publication, America witnessed a coordinated campaign by social media companies, mainstream news and the intelligence community to suppress and delegitimize the existence of Hunter Biden’s laptop and its contents,” committee Chairman James Comer, Kentucky Republican, will say, according to his prepared opening remarks. “We owe it to the American people to provide answers about this collusion to censor information about Joe Biden’s involvement in his family’s business schemes.”

Mr. Biden’s campaign branded the now-authenticated laptop as Russian disinformation, a theory that was peddled by more than 50 former U.S. senior intelligence officials in an open letter to the public.

Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the committee, accused Republicans of pursuing “already debunked and hyperpartisan conspiracy theories about President Biden, his family and the so-called deep state.”

He added, “Conspiracy theories and disinformation are already at a fever pitch in the new Congress. Committee Democrats stand ready to work with our Republican colleagues when they get serious about tackling the problems that affect the American people.”

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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