Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday denounced as “reprehensible” the censorship by Twitter and Facebook of The Post’s reporting on Ukraine- and China-related documents retrieved from a hard drive that allegedly belonged to Hunter Biden.
“I think suppressing information is reprehensible,” the Kentucky Republican said during a visit to his home state.
“Whether one approves of the information or not, if you selectively suppress information, that’s censorship,” McConnell said. “And in this country we’ve always advocated a competition of ideas. All the ideas aren’t necessarily good, but you debate them out. But you don’t deny people access. So I think what they’re doing is reprehensible.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans on Thursday said they will hold a hearing Tuesday to subpoena Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to answer for the company’s decision to block distribution of The Post’s articles about alleged links between Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son’s foreign business deals.
Senate Republicans, who hold a majority on the committee, hope to compel Dorsey’s appearance next Friday.
“This is election interference and we’re 19 days out from an election. It has no precedent in the history of democracy,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told reporters in a Senate office building hallway.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who on Wednesday also requested a Federal Election Commission investigation, said “the most powerful monopolies in American history are attempting to control the news and interfere in a federal election.”
“This is not some random blog. This is the newspaper founded by Alexander Hamilton, for heaven’s sake. What’s really at stake here is a free press in this country and I have to say, this is really alarming,” Hawley said.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said, “We’re going to finally have an accounting that’s long overdue. These social media platforms have a dominance in our lives. They’re newspapers, they’re TV stations, radio stations, they’re publishers.”
“You may be a Democrat, saying ‘I don’t want to hear the New York Post.’ It could be you tomorrow,” Graham warned.
The Post’s initial censored story Wednesday described an email indicating Hunter Biden introduced his vice president father to an executive at Ukraine energy firm Burisma, despite Joe Biden saying he never discussed his son’s “overseas business dealings” with him, including Hunter’s reported $83,000 a month job at Burisma.
Twitter blocked users Thursday from sharing a second-day story from The Post that describes Hunter Biden’s alleged pursuit of a China business deal.
Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said Wednesday that Facebook was taking action to reduce distribution of the initial Post article so it can be “fact checked.”
Twitter, meanwhile, said without evidence that the material may have been hacked and locked down many accounts that shared the initial article, including the personal account of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who has 1 million followers.
“The Big Tech censorship we are witnessing is the kind of thing you see from rogue regimes and totalitarian states. @Twitter & @Facebook should be ashamed,” White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah tweeted Thursday.
The hard drive was shared with The Post by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a personal attorney to President Trump, after he received it from a Delaware computer repairman. The repairman says he legally accessed the content under an abandonment contract clause when Hunter Biden did not collect a damaged laptop within 90 days.
Hunter Biden has not denied that he provided the laptop to the repair shop and Joe Biden has not definitively ruled out meeting the Burisma executive, with his campaign only saying no such meeting was on his “official schedules.”
Republican lawmakers and Trump on Wednesday cited the article censorship in calls for reform of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a foundational internet liability shield for sites that host third-party content.
Supporters of reforming Section 230 say tech giants should lose protections if they operate as a publisher rather than as a neutral platform.
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