GOP Rep. James Comer, expected to be the House Oversight Chairman next year, told FBN’s Maria Bartiromo that the latest installment of the “Twitter Files” contains some things he plans to investigate:
(Timeline editor’s note: This is a rough interpretation of Comer’s discussion with Bartiromo.)
MARIA BARTIROMO: Elon Musk has exposed corruption in Washington, part seven of “The Twitter Files” reveals how the intelligence community pressured news and social media outlets to discredit evidence of influence-peddling from Hunter Biden on the Biden laptop, despite the FBI knowing truth for nearly a year before the New York Post story dropped.
Independent writer Michael Shellenberger reporting that throughout 2020, the FBI was repeatedly warning Twitter that stories about Hunter’s laptop was a “Russian hack and leak operation.” They knew otherwise because they had the laptop since October 2019. FBI agent Elvis Chan also emailed Twitter’s head of security a trove of documents just one day before the Post story came out.
The chairman-elect of the Huse Oversight Committee… Kentucky Congressman James Comer is here… What does this latest tranche of Twitter exposé mean to you?
REP. JAMES COMER: Well it means a lot. More evidence of wrongdoing. In the beginning I thought that there were probably two or three rogue employees who were orchestrating this cover-up of the Hunter Biden laptop, but now we know that the FBI had a division of at least 80 agents. We also know that the FBI paid Twitter over three million dollars for their time, all the time they took over the past couple years, in telling them who to suppress, who to ban. You know just things that government has no role in.
The FBI was never granted the authority to create any type of disinformation task force that police the social media sites. This we know with Twitter. We’ve heard similar stories from Zuckerberg. Who knows what went on at YouTube and Google. This is an agency that is out of control, and the most frustrating thing for me right now, Maria, is the fact in this omnibus bill, there is increased funding for the FBI, plus a $1.75 billion dollars headquarters facility for the FBI. We need to halt everything with the FBI. All funding until they come forward, and explain to Congress exactly what they were doing, why they were doing it, and who gave them the authority to do it.
BARTIROMO: That is extraordinary that there is all of that money earmarked for the FBI, despite all this with wrongdoing and evidence of collusion. I don’t know why your colleagues in the Senate are going along with this omnibus bill weakening you right before you take the gavel.
COMER: Um-hmm, it does. The one thing that we have the ability to do is stop the spending. Stop the spending. We need an FBI we really do. But this FBI is out of control. It is doing things, that Congress never granted the authority to do. In no way, shape or form should the government be in the business of censoring free speech, whether liberal or conservative speech that is just something the government should not do.
But to dedicate a task force of at least 80 employees to do nothing but communicate with social media sites, telling them what soties to suppress, who to ban, is just wrong. It is a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars and a violation of the Constitution.
And to think that as we speak, the Senate is sitting here giving them more money for the next 12 months, tying our hands and our ability to get the FBI in front of the committee. One way we could get the FBI in front of the committee really quickly is say we’re not giving you a penny, until you all come down here and explain to us, what this task force was, why you told Twitter to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story when you knew darn well it was true.
The Senate is counter to everything we’re trying to do in the House from an oversight standpoint right now, especially with respect to the FBI.
BARTIROMO: That is horrible who or senators agreeing to this, Mitch McConnell? Who else?
COMER: We’ve got Richard Shelby, Rob Portman, and ironically, Maria, a lot of senators are going out of office, they are not even going to be in Congress in 10 days. This is something that should be punted until first of the year, we’ve got questions.
Look at the southern border, we are not holding anyone accountable from a budgetary standpoint for the crisis at the border, we’re not holding anyone accountable at the debacle in the NIH and the CDC, all the bad decisions they made, and all the money they waisted during Covid. And here we are with the FBI, an agency that is clearly out of control. No one, no one in Congress, even the liberals, would say the FBI has any business censoring free speech.
BARTIROMO: This is one more piece of evidence that the Senate Republicans are working against the American people. There is no other way to look at it. They continue to go with Democrat colleagues and vote for this spending, and then they complain that inflation is at 40-year highs.
The idea that the FBI was paying Twitter, okay? I know the FBI and DOJ pays human sources, to do their work, they paid spies during Russia collusion story, that whole made-up story that Trump colluded with Russia, they paid old spies is to entrap Trump officials. What did they do with Twitter? Why is the FBI paying Twitter? That is outrageous.
COMER: According to the latest Twitter dump, the FBI was spending so much time with Twitter executives, every two weeks having meetings that lasted for hours, telling them what stories to suppress, what looked like disinformation, who to ban from Twitter, — I mean things that the FBI has no business doing. They reimbursed them for their time, over $3 million dollars over a two-year period. And that is just Twitter, we don’t know how much they paid Facebook, Google, YouTube, the other social media platforms.
80 employees, that’s roughly $12 million dollars in salary and benefits dedicated to policing social media sites, are you kidding me? At a time when crime is out of control, human trafficking is out of control, we have a crisis of fentanyl, we have a crisis of shoplifting, and the crime rate in these cities is higher than it has been in my adult lifetime, ans the FBI’s focused on policing social media sites? This is a gross misuse of the taxpayer dollars. (RealClearPolitics, 12/20/2022) (Archive)