Jan 11, 2023 - Politics & Policy

House Republicans target Twitter's handling of Hunter Biden story

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee are asking former Twitter employees to testify at a February hearing on the social media platform's handling of reporting on Hunter Biden, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: This first move while in the majority is an indication of the committee's priorities — even as it launches an investigation into the classified documents found at the Penn Biden Center.

Driving the news: House Oversight Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) sent letters Wednesday to several former Twitter executives who were involved in the decision to suppress the New York Post’s reporting about Hunter Biden.

  • The Twitter employees were asked to testify at a hearing planned for the week of Feb. 6, and to respond no later than next Wednesday, Jan 18.

Comer also renewed his request to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen for the department to produce “suspicious activity reports” — generated by banks and forwarded to the Treasury Department — that involve Hunter Biden and some other associates.

  • "During the 117th Congress, the Department of the Treasury refused our requests. ... The Committee requests these SARs and other information," Comer wrote.

The big picture: House Republicans on the committee in the prior Congress had already signaled a wide range of probes spanning the Afghanistan withdrawal, COVID origins, domestic energy production and infrastructure spending.

  • But because oversight requests don't carry over from Congress to Congress, all of those letters and requests for documents and testimony need to be re-sent by Republicans now that they are in the majority.

What they're saying: “The American people must know the extent of Joe Biden’s involvement in his family’s shady business deals and if these deals threaten national security and his decision-making as president," Comer said in a statement.

  • White House Counsel Dick Sauber told Comer and House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) in December that oversight demands made by congressional Republicans during the last Congress would have to be renewed.

Thought bubble from Axios' Ashley Gold: Comer's moves are just one of many to come from House Republicans who feel empowered to go after tech platforms for alleged censorship without Democrats at the helm of the chamber.

  • We're likely to see a lot more of these types of requests and similar hearings to what was seen during the Trump administration.
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