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 BidenTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump Cruz urges Supreme Court to take up Pennsylvania election challenge 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 ClintonTrump has discussed possible pardons for three eldest children, Kushner: report McCaskill: 'Hypocrisy' for GOP to target Biden nominee's tweets after Trump Biden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate 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 CicillineDemocrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? House Democrats pick Aguilar as No. 6 leader in next Congress Nominated for another Speaker term, Pelosi says it's her last 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.