Lawmakers clash at tech antitrust hearing: 'Put your mask on!'

The House Judiciary subcommittee on antirust turned into a partisan brawl as lawmakers questioned the CEOs of the nation’s largest tech companies on Wednesday.

The hearing featured testimony from the CEOs of Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple. Democrats in the committee largely focused their questioning on whether the tech giants have engaged in monopolistic behavior while Republicans asked about whether their platforms have anti-conservative bias. 


Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the ranking member of the full committee, asked Google CEO Sundar Pichai if his company would “tailor its features to help Joe BidenJoe BidenAppeals court OKs White House diverting military funding to border wall construction Federal student loan payment suspension extended another month Pentagon: Tentative meeting between spy agencies, Biden transition set for early next week MORE in the 2020 election,” referring to the former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. 

Jordan brought up an email that was published by Breitbart in 2016, which showed Google’s head of multicultural marketing, Eliana Murillo, describing the company’s efforts to help a nonpartisan Latino voter mobilization nonprofit. Pichai maintained that the company has never showed preferential treatment for a political campaign but has adjusted its policies to restrict its employees' expression of partisan views in a professional capacity. 

The Ohio congressman said that was evidence of Google's effort to promote former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary and Chelsea Clinton to host series based on their book 'Gutsy Women' Democrats see spike in turnout among Asian American, Pacific Islander voters Biden officially announces ex-Obama official Brian Deese as top economic adviser MORE during the 2016 presidential election.


“We'd like to redirect you to antitrust law instead of fringe conspiracy theories," Democratic Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (Pa.) said, following Jordan’s remarks. 

“We have the email, there is no fringe conspiracy theory," the Ohio Republican interrupted.

As Democratic members told Jordan to respect decorum, Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinDemocrats debate fate of Trump probes if Biden wins Congress must repeal tax breaks for the wealthy passed in CARES Act COVID-19 and the problem of presidential succession MORE (D-Md.) told him to “put your mask on.” The hearing came hours before Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertCapitol physician advises lawmakers against attending dinners, receptions during COVID-19 spike Capitol's COVID-19 spike could be bad Thanksgiving preview GOP Rep. Dan Newhouse tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-Texas), a member of the committee who was present at a hearing Tuesday, announced he tested positive for COVID-19.

“If you want to talk about masks, why would the deputy secretary of treasury unmask Michael Flynn’s name, Mr. Raskin?” Jordan said, bringing up an unrelated political dispute, the "unmasking” of a former Trump national security adviser and campaign official. 

“Mr. Jordan, you do not have the time!” antitrust subcommittee Chairman David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Capital One - Tensions rise with Trump, Barr Maloney to lead Democrats' campaign arm Hillicon Valley: GOP chairman says defense bill leaves out Section 230 repeal | Senate panel advances FCC nominee | Krebs says threats to election officials 'undermining democracy' MORE (D-R.I.) declared as he slammed the gavel. 

“When someone comes after my motives for asking questions, I get a chance to respond,” Jordan said before letting Scanlon continue.