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 BidenBiden says Trump executive order is 'a reckless war on Social Security' Trump got into testy exchange with top GOP donor Adelson: report Blumenthal calls for declassification of materials detailing Russian threat to US elections 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 ClintonBlumenthal calls for declassification of materials detailing Russian threat to US elections Hillary Clinton roasts NYT's Maureen Dowd over column Hillary Clinton touts student suspended over crowded hallway photo: 'John Lewis would be proud' 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 RaskinFive takeaways from Fauci's testimony GOP lawmakers comply with Pelosi's mask mandate for House floor Five takeaways as panel grills tech CEOs MORE (D-Md.) told him to “put your mask on.” The hearing came hours before Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump order aims to curb US agencies' use of foreign workers after TVA outrage | EPA transition back to the office alarms employees | Hundreds of green groups oppose BLM nominee Interior stresses 'showing up for work' after Grijalva tests positive for coronavirus Trump's junk medicine puts his own supporters at deadly risk 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 CicillineFive takeaways from Big Tech's blowout earnings What factors will shape Big Tech regulation? Hillicon Valley: House panel grills tech CEOs during much anticipated antitrust hearing | TikTok to make code public as it pushes back against 'misinformation' | House Intel panel expands access to foreign disinformation evidence 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.