Trump campaign adviser praises Gabbard for suing Google over alleged censorship

An adviser for President TrumpDonald John TrumpFacebook releases audit on conservative bias claims Harry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Recessions happen when presidents overlook key problems MORE’s re-election campaign praised presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardCastro qualifies for next Democratic primary debates Native American advocates question 2020 Democrats' commitment The US can't seem to live without Afghanistan MORE (D-Hawaii) over her $50 million lawsuit against Google over claims of censorship.

“I know Tulsi personally, I don’t always agree with her policies but this is clearly Google trying to put their hand on the scale at a critical time,” Tony Shaffer, who sits on Trump’s 2020 advisory board, told Hill.TV during an interview on Monday.

“She was definitely in a position to make a lot of money and the idea of her being at a critical moment essentially for her First Amendment right being taken away as something that she had every right to go after them,” he added.

In a complaint filed Thursday in a federal district court in California, Gabbard alleged that Google censored her presidential campaign when it briefly suspended her advertising account last month.

According to the lawsuit, the suspension of her account came just hours after the end of Democratic presidential primary debate last month, during which she was briefly one of the most-searched Democrats on Google.

A Google spokeswoman pushed back against Gabbard’s claims of censorship in a statement to The Hill, saying the suspension was due to sudden “large spending changes” that set off Google’s automated systems used to flag unusual activity.

"In this case, our system triggered a suspension and the account was reinstated shortly thereafter,” the Google spokesman said.

Gabbard’s lawsuit is reflective of a narrative typically espoused by Republicans, many of who claim that tech companies are biased against conservative voices. Tech companies have denied the allegations.

President Trump himself has long targeted big tech, claiming it is biased against him and his fellow conservatives.

Democrats, meanwhile, have dismissed these claims as nothing but a conservative talking point.

However, both Democrats and Republicans alike, have expressed concern over Google and other tech companies’ growing influence in the digital market as well as their potential impact on future elections in light of former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony MORE's report on Russian interference. 

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump searches for backstops amid recession worries Mueller report fades from political conversation Barr removes prisons chief after Epstein death MORE on Thursday met with a bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general to discuss antitrust concerns about tech giants. Texas, Louisiana, Nebraska and New York were among the states that took part in the meeting.

Barr also announced earlier this week that the Justice Department has launched an investigation into companies that dominate various digital markets, including online search.

—Tess Bonn