Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) — the two highest-ranking Republican members on the House Antitrust committee — used their first few minutes during their opening statements at the hearing with Big Tech CEOs Thursday to call out tech companies for unproven allegations of political bias against conservatives.

Why it matters: Previous hearings with tech executives have devolved into partisan bickering over political bias, instead of focusing on serious issues. The hope was that this hearing, conducted by a specialized subcommittee, would be more substantive.

“Big tech is out to get conservatives,” Jordan said at the very beginning of his opening remarks.

  • Jordan then proceeded to get into a heated exchange with the Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline (D-R.I.), who tried to move the hearing along after Jordan's rant about political bias.
  • Rep. Sensenbrenner's opening remarks started out tempered, noting that "Being big is not inherently bad.” But he quickly pivoted to issues of bias.
  • "[R]eports that dissenting views, often conservative ones, are targeted or censored is seriously troubling. The power to influence debate carries with it remarkable responsibilities," he said.
  • Rep. Sensenbrenner later uses his first question to wrongly ask Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg why Facebook took action on Donald Trump Jr.’s account. "That happened on Twitter,” Zuckerberg replied.
  • Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), in his first line of questioning, referenced reports that by Google had warned The Federalist, a conservative website, about being demonetized for violating its rules.

Our thought bubble: Tech execs have recently gotten a free pass from being pressed on serious, substantive issues when they go to the Capitol because conservatives are obsessed with unproven allegations of political censorship.

Flashback: When tech executives testified in Congress last year, Senate conservatives did the same thing.

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The Justice Department fired the starter pistol on what's likely to be a years-long legal siege of Big Tech by the U.S. government when it filed a major antitrust suit Tuesday against Google.

The big picture: Once a generation, it seems, federal regulators decide to take on a dominant tech company. Two decades ago, Microsoft was the target; two decades before that, IBM.

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Early voting eclipses 2016 total with 12 days until election

People stand in line to vote early in Fairfax, Virginia in September. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Americans have cast more than 47.1 million ballots in the 2020 presidential election, surpassing the total early-vote count for 2016 with 12 days left until Election Day, according to a Washington Post analysis of voting data.

Why it matters: The election is already underway, as many states have expanded early and mail-in voting options because of the coronavirus pandemic.