Trump: 'We are watching Google very closely'

President Trump on Tuesday said his administration is “watching Google very closely” to see if the search giant will try to impact the 2020 presidential election.

The president said Google CEO Sundar Pichai told him the company didn’t influence the 2016 election, but the president suggested without evidence that the company is trying to "illegally subvert" his reelection campaign and cited a former Google employee who alleges the company fired him over his politically conservative views.

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@sundarpichai of Google was in the Oval Office working very hard to explain how much he liked me, what a great job the Administration is doing, that Google was not involved with China’s military, that they didn’t help Crooked Hillary over me in the 2016 Election, and that they are NOT planning to illegally subvert the 2020 Election despite all that has been said to the contrary,” Trump tweeted. 

“It all sounded good until I watched Kevin Cernekee, a Google engineer, say terrible things about what they did in 2016 and that they want to ‘Make sure that Trump losses in 2020.’ Lou DobbsLouis (Lou) Carl DobbsOn The Money: Trump rules out total rollback of Chinese tariffs | Buttigieg unveils T child care, college, housing plan | Global billionaires' wealth falls for first time since 2015 Trump rules out total rollback of Chinese tariffs Trump trade adviser pushes back on reports of US-China tariff deal MORE stated that this is a fraud on the American public. @peterschweizer stated with certainty that they suppressed negative stories on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonAs Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Harris rips Gabbard over Fox appearances during Obama years Steyer, Gabbard and Yang shut out of early minutes of Democratic debate MORE, and boosted negative stories on Donald Ttump. All very illegal. We are watching Google very closely!”

 

Cernekee alleged to The Wall Street Journal, in an article published last week, that he was fired from Google after raising concerns on how management treated right-leaning staffers.

On Monday, the Daily Caller published some of Cernekee's comments on an internal Google forum in which he defended the white nationalist Richard Spencer and a group called the Golden State Skinheads. Cernekee told the outlet that his comments were intended as a principled defense of free speech.

A Google spokesperson denied the company fires employees for political reasons. 

“We enforce our workplace policies without regard to political viewpoint," the spokesperson told The Hill. "Lively debate is a hallmark of Google’s workplace culture; harassment, discrimination, and the unauthorized access and theft of confidential company information is not.”

Google said that Cernekee was fired after the company found he violated multiple company policies, including using a personal device to conduct unauthorized wide-scaled searches for and downloading of internal confidential Google documents.  

Conservative lawmakers have been hammering Google and other internet giants with allegations that they are seeking to censor conservative voices, despite offering little evidence to support their claims. 

In response to Trump’s tweet, a Google spokesperson said the “statements made by this disgruntled former employee are absolutely false.”  

“We go to great lengths to build our products and enforce our policies in ways that don't take political leanings into account. Distorting results for political purposes would harm our business and go against our mission of providing helpful content to all of our users,” the spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill.  

Lawmakers have raised concerns over tech companies, including Google and Facebook, and the role they played in the 2016 election. 

As Trump continues to complain over supposed influence aimed at helping his former Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerHouse impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' MORE’s report alleges Russia intentionally interfered in the election in favor of Trump. The report alleges that while the Trump campaign did not directly collude with the Russians, it was open to the interference. 

Trump has regularly denied those allegations, saying that Democrats have pointed at Russian interference in an attempt to deflect from losing the election.

Harper Neidig contributed to this report that was updated at 10:24 a.m.