The FBI paid Twitter over $3.4 million of taxpayer dollars to censor stories – including the Hunter Biden laptop story.— Rep. Elise Stefanik (@RepStefanik) February 9, 2023
53% of Americans made aware of the Hunter Biden laptop story would have changed their vote in 2020.
This is unconstitutional election meddling. pic.twitter.com/9Z26pM22Kf
During Thursday’s first Weaponization Subcommittee Hearing, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) tore into the DOJ, the FBI, and Twitter for what she feels is a blatant attempt to interfere with U.S. elections.
During the hearing, Stefanik questioned Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law Center, and Nicole Parker, a former FBI agent.
Transcript from the Office of Elise Stefanik:
Congresswoman Stefanik: “Thank you, Ms. Parker for your extraordinary service and your courage for being here today. Mr. Turley, I want to start with you. The Twitter Files laid bare for the American people what you correctly call unconstitutional, ‘censorship by surrogate.’ Matt Taibbi writes, ‘Twitter’s contact with the FBI was constant and pervasive, as if it were a subsidiary.’ Do you agree with that assessment?”
Mr. Turley: “I do. What we know on the record so far shows a relationship that goes beyond this sort of informal exchange of ideas.”
Congresswoman Stefanik: “You’re correct. In fact, isn’t it true that leading up to the 2020 election, Twitter had weekly meetings with not just the FBI, with DOJ, with DHS, with DNI to conduct this unconstitutional censorship by surrogate. We know that because of the Twitter Files, correct?”
Mr. Turley: “Correct.”
Congresswoman Stefanik: “And it was not just meetings, not just censorship of stories like the Hunter Biden laptop story. We also now know that the FBI paid Twitter over $3.4 million of taxpayer taxpayer funds to censor these stories before the 2020 election. Is that correct?”
Mr. Turley: “That money was paid, Twitter confirmed that.”
Congresswoman Stefanik: “The Twitter Files are just the tip of the iceberg because there’s so much more.” There was a corrupt revolving door at the highest levels between the FBI and Twitter. Look no further than Jim Baker, former General Counsel at the FBI, who helped unlawfully investigate Donald Trump in the 2016 election, or look at Jim Comey as Deputy Chief of Staff who became the Director of Strategy at Twitter. Isn’t it true, according to the Twitter Files, that there were so many FBI officials who then went to work at Twitter that they created their own Slack channel and crib sheet for onboarding? The Twitter Files confirmed that, correct?”
Mr. Turley: “Correct.”
Congresswoman Stefanik: “Are you aware, as the American people are aware that according to polling, of the people that were made aware of the Hunter Biden laptop story, 53 percent would have changed their vote, including 61 percent of Democrats. This is the definition of election meddling, and it’s the definition of election meddling by the FBI on behalf of Democrats paid for by the U.S. taxpayers. It’s collusion. It’s corruption, and it’s unconstitutional. Ms. Parker, I want to go to you next about your experience at the FBI. Because this is not just about the Twitter Files, which folks are focused on because of the news it made, it’s about a systemic rot in the culture and the politicization of the leadership of the FBI, and it needs to be rooted out. Let’s take a step back. Let’s look at the targeting illegally of parents who wanted to stand up for their kids at school board meetings. On September 29, 2021, the National School Boards Association sent a letter to Joe Biden, equating parents at school board meetings to domestic terrorists. And on October 4th, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memorandum to the FBI and U.S. attorneys that the department would use federal enforcement tools to target and prosecute these parents. Do you consider parents as domestic terrorists?”
Ms. Parker: “I do not consider parents as domestic terrorists. No, I do not.”
Congresswoman Stefanik: “No, and neither do the American people. But there’s more to this story. It goes back further than that initial letter on September 29th. Because the letter didn’t happen organically—it was solicited, it was solicited by the White House and by the Secretary of Education. Essentially, the Biden Administration laid the predicate for which it used to justify illegally targeting the American people, targeting these parents. Is it proper protocol, as a former FBI officer, to set that predicate, to manufacture the reasoning to justify opening an investigation?”
Ms. Parker: “I believe that no one should be targeted for free speech and that violence should never be tolerated under any circumstance, but it should definitely not—no one should be targeted because they want to speak up at a school board meeting.”
Congresswoman Stefanik: “This was a setup, and it was the setup and it’s the real definition of weaponization of the government against the American people. And it’s not just this example of targeting parents [by the National] School Boards Association. It goes back to the opening of ‘Crossfire Hurricane,’ it goes back to the faulty FISA application. It goes back to what we heard on that first panel from Senators Grassley and Johnson. It goes back to the suppression, illegally, of the Hunter Biden laptop story paid for by the U.S. taxpayers. This corruption needs to be rooted out. And it’s not just about protecting the U.S. Constitution, it’s most importantly about protecting the American people from the weaponization of the federal government against them.”