The House Oversight Committee informed former Twitter executives Wednesday that they are expected to testify at an early February hearing on the platform’s decision to censor The Post’s October 2020 reporting on documents from first son Hunter Biden’s laptop.
Twitter barred distribution of articles that linked President Biden to his son’s foreign business relationships weeks ahead of the 2020 election, claiming without evidence that the articles violated a “hacked materials” policy.
Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.), told former Twitter officials Vijaya Gadde, Yoel Roth and James Baker that he will hold a hearing to examine their decision.
“On December 6, 2022, I wrote to you requesting your appearance at a Committee hearing during the 118th Congress. Your attendance is necessary because of your role in suppressing Americans’ access to information about the Biden family on Twitter shortly before the 2020 election,” Comer wrote in separate letters to the trio.
“This letter reiterates the Committee’s request and — for your convenience in planning
travel — informs you of the hearing date, which will be the week of February 6,” Comer wrote.
Although the invitation isn’t binding, Comer gave Gadde, Roth and Baker a Jan. 18 deadline to reply. If they do not do so, the panel can vote to compel them to appear.
New Twitter owner Elon Musk fired Gadde, the social network’s former policy director, in October. Roth, the former director of trust and safety, resigned in November. Musk fired Baker, a prominent attorney who formerly worked as FBI’s general counsel, in December for allegedly undermining his attempts to reveal internal documents detailing historical censorship decisions.
Many details about Twitter’s decision to censor The Post’s reporting remain unanswered, but documents released by Musk show early internal doubts about claiming the documents were hacked, since they came from a Delaware computer repairman who produced paperwork showing Hunter Biden legally abandoned his laptop.
The FBI paid Twitter $3.5 million from October 2019 to February 2021 to process the bureau’s censorship requests, according to records, but it remains unknown to what extent government officials weighed in on the laptop stories. Civil libertarians say it’s a violation of the First Amendment for the government to seek to suppress lawful domestic speech.
The Post’s initial October 2020 bombshell based on Hunter Biden emails revealed that Vadym Pozharskyi, an executive at the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma, emailed Hunter in 2015 to thank him for the “opportunity to meet your father” — directly contradicting Biden’s 2019 claim that he’d “never spoken” with his son about “his overseas business dealings.” Hunter Biden was paid a reported $1 million per year to serve on Burisma’s board while his vice-president dad led the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy.
The Biden campaign vaguely denied that the meeting occurred, saying at the time, “[W]e have reviewed Joe Biden’s official schedules from the time and no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place.” Twitter banned sharing of The Post’s article and locked The Post out of its accounts, and Facebook limited circulation of the story saying it needed to be “fact-checked.”
Photos and emails subsequently reported by The Post indicate Joe Biden attended a 2015 dinner one day before the email was sent with a group of his son’s associates, including Pozharskyi. An email revealed that Hunter also invited Russian billionaire Yelena Baturina and her husband, ex-Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov. Baturina is Russia’s richest woman and a 2020 report from Republican-led Senate committees alleges that in 2014 she paid $3.5 million to a firm associated with Hunter Biden.
A second October 2020 bombshell from The Post described communications about Hunter Biden and his uncle Jim Biden’s business venture with the company CEFC China Energy. A May 13, 2017, email recovered from the laptop said the “big guy” would get 10% of the deal. The Washington Post later reported that Hunter and Jim Biden received $4.8 million from CEFC.
Former Hunter Biden business partner Tony Bobulinski alleges that he met with Joe Biden to discuss the CEFC venture on May 2, 2017, and that the president was the “big guy.” The author of the email, James Gilliar, also identified Joe Biden as the “big guy” in a communication retrieved from the laptop.