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Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev apologized at a House hearing Thursday for the confusion caused by his platform's decision to restrict trading of certain "meme stocks," while admitting he did not handle the situation perfectly.

Yes, but: Tenev later admitted the company made mistakes, but could not spell out what those mistakes were — before Congress moved on to the next question.

Key exchange:

  • Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.): "You admitted to making mistakes. Specifically what mistakes, did you make?"
  • Tenev: "I admit to always improving. And certainly ... we're not going to be perfect. And we want to improve and make sure that we don't make the same mistakes twice."
  • Dean: "But what are those mistakes? That's what we're here to learn about."

Why it matters: The wild stretch of Reddit-fueled trading last month has resulted in intense scrutiny of the power of platforms like Robinhood, short-selling hedge funds and the stock market's plumbing.

  • Citadel's Ken Griffin said the firm was "absolutely not" in contact with Robinhood over its decision to limit users' ability to buy those meme stocks.
  • Keith Gill (aka "Roaring Kitty"), hedge fund manager Gabe Plotkin and Reddit CEO Steve Huffman received considerably less attention from lawmakers.

The big picture: Regulators are scrutinizing what happened during the GameStop saga and whether there was wrongdoing.

  • But there was no SEC representation at Thursday's hearing because Biden's pick to lead the agency has yet to be confirmed, said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).

Between the lines: Jennifer Schulp, director of Financial Regulation Studies at the Cato Institute, said she's seen "very little that would meet a test for [market] manipulation," but that doesn't mean the SEC shouldn't take a deeper look.

What to watch: Waters, who chairs the committee, says there will be "probably two more" hearings related to the GameStop saga.

The bottom line: The highly anticipated hearing revealed few new details about last month's "meme stock" phenomenon that shocked the world.

  • There's still no definitive clue whether there will be any regulatory changes in response.

Go deeper

Citadel and Robinhood CEOs will call for new stock trading rule at GameStop hearing

Co-founder and CEO of Robinhood Vladimir Tenev. Photo: Noam Galai / Getty Images

Players central to the GameStop market bonanza will call on Congress to shorten the time required for stock trades to settle, according to testimonies released ahead of their appearances at a Congressional hearing on Thursday.

Why it matters: A typically obscure part of stock trading is set to be among the issues at the forefront — as Robinhood and others look to deflect the anger that stemmed from the Reddit-fueled stock frenzy.

Congress divided over who's to blame for Reddit trading phenomenon

Photos: Getty Images, company websites, Keith Gill courtesy of YouTube; Graphic: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

There's little consensus about what went wrong, if anything, during the trading mania that drove a group of "meme stocks" to meteoric heights — and those tensions could animate today's GameStop-centered Congressional hearing.

Why it matters: What went wrong and who's to blame — short-sellers, Robinhood, Reddit daytraders, etc. — depends on whom you ask. Any of the witnesses set to appear could be targeted, and there's not much clarity about what direction Congress might go in response.

Reddit user behind GameStop saga releases opening statement ahead of hearing

Wall Street protesters. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Keith Patrick Gill, known on YouTube and Twitter as Roaring Kitty, released his opening statement ahead of testimony before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday about his role in the surge of GameStop's stock price.

The big picture: Gill will join the CEOs of Reddit, Robinhood, Citadel and Melvin Capital at Wednesday's hearing. The committee plans to "examine the recent activity around GameStop (GME) stock and other impacted stocks with a focus on short selling, online trading platforms, gamification and their systemic impact on our capital markets and retail investors," per a statement by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), chair of the committee.