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Subpoenas: Senators target Twitter, Facebook CEOs for censoring Hunter Biden story with Tuesday subpoena vote

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the Senate judiciary and commerce committees on Capitol Hill on April 10, 2018, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
October 16, 2020

The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to vote on subpoenas for Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday to testify after the companies suppressed links to articles raising allegations against Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.

Judiciary Committee leaders plan to hold a vote to issue the subpoena on Tuesday, Fox News reported. If the vote for the subpoena succeeds, Dorsey will be called to testify before the committee on Friday, Oct. 23. Sen. Josh Hawley said he also hopes the committee will subpoena Zuckerberg, as Facebook has also worked to suppress reporting originating from the New York Post.

Hawley also announced on Thursday he had formally requested Dorsey and Zuckerberg testify. Hawley’s press office tweeted, “NEW — U.S. Senator Josh Hawley has formally requested @Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and @Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to appear before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism in a coming hearing titled “Digital Platforms and Election Interference.”

On Wednesday, Twitter blocked users from sharing links to the Post’s article, preventing users from sharing the story. Facebook also referred the Post’s article for fact-checking, in a move that would limit the article from appearing on users’ newsfeeds.

A new series of articles from the Post purports to show emails written by Hunter Biden that were recovered from a laptop abandoned at a Delaware computer repair shop. The first article, published by the Post on Wednesday morning, says one email written by Hunter Biden describes a meeting between his father and an executive at the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings, on whose board Hunter Biden served.

Joe Biden has previously denied having had knowledge about his son’s business dealings, however, the Post’s reporting purports to show Burisma Holdings executive Vadym Pozharskyi, in April of 2015, thanking Hunter Biden for arranging a meeting between Pozharskyi and Hunter’s father, Joe Biden. The interaction described by the documents obtained by the Post came about eight months before then-Vice President Joe Biden called on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, who was then tasked with investigating Burisma.

As vice president, Joe Biden was tasked with handling some Ukraine policies and in a 2018 video, Joe Biden described withholding a $1 billion loan guarantee in 2016, until Shokin was fired. Biden has denied a conflict of interest in Shokin’s firing and has said Shokin was fired over corruption concerns which were shared by the European Union.

The Republican members of the Judiciary Committee raised concerns that the moves by Twitter and Facebook to limit the negative story about the Bidens. Hawley described the move as an attempt to limit the free press and interfere in an election to benefit the Bidens

“We believe in a free press in this country and we also believe in free elections,” Hawley said. “The attempt to rig an election, which is what we’re seeing here by monopolies, is unprecedented in American history. They have a lot to answer for.”

Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, (R-SC), said, “We’re going to finally have an accounting that’s long overdue. The power behind these platforms have been taken to a level that truly is dangerous.”

The Biden campaign has denied the claims made in the Post article.

“The New York Post never asked the Biden campaign about the critical elements of this story,” Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement provided to the Wall Street Journal. Bates linked the story to President Donald Trump’s lawyer and campaign affiliate Rudy Giuliani, who Bates said has promoted “discredited conspiracy theories” and had an “alliance with figures connected to Russian intelligence.”

Bates denied the alleged 2015 meeting between Joe Biden and Pozharskyi.

“Moreover, we have reviewed Joe Biden’s official schedules from the time and no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place,” Bates said.

Separately, Biden campaign officials who spoke to Politico, including Michael Carpenter and Amos Hochstein, reportedly did not rule out the possibility Pozharskyi would have approached Biden in an informal context.