Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) was the only Democrat lawmaker who expressed concerns with Twitter over the social media company’s censorship of Hunter Biden’s laptop just before the 2020 presidential election, according to internal discussions released by new Twitter CEO Elon Musk.
Musk released Twitter’s internal discussions on the Hunter Biden laptop story Friday night via journalist Matt Taibbi.
According to Taibbi, Khanna “was the only Democratic official I could find in the files who expressed concern.”
In an email to Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s former head of Trust & Safety, Khanna told her Twitter’s decision to censor the Hunter Biden laptop story was “Generating huge backlash on [Capitol] hill.”
Gadde “quickly” replied to Khanna, explaining the Twitter rules and discussing former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s suspension from Twitter for sharing the Biden laptop story on their platform.
“We put out a clarifying thread of Tweets earlier this evening to explain our policy around the posting of private information and linking directly to hacked materials,” Gadde said.
Still, Khanna seemed more concerned with constitutional violations than violations of the Twitter rules.
“Hope you’re well Vijaya! But this seems a violation of the 1st Amendment principles,” Khanna responded before highlighting New York Times v. Sullivan, a landmark Supreme Court decision on the first amendment that has implications for members of the press.
If there is a hack of classified information or other information that could expose a serious war crime and the NYT was to publish it, I think the NYT should have that right. A journalist should not be held accountable for the illegal actions of the source unless they actively aided the hack. So to restrict the distribution of that material, especially regarding a Presidential candidate, seems not in the keeping of the principles of NYT v Sullivan.
Khanna expressed his concerns to Gadde even though he is a self-described “total Biden partisan,” convinced the Biden family “didn’t do anything wrong.”
Khanna also said Twitter’s decision to censor the story brought more attention to Biden’s laptop than the “relatively innocuous emails” found on the laptop’s hard drive. He cautioned that Twitter’s censorship “is now leading to serious efforts to curtail section 230.”
“But in the heat of a Presidential campaign, restricting dissemination of newspaper articles (even if NY Post is far right) seems like it will invite more backlash than it will do good,” Khanna told Gadde.
Musk announced a second installment of the Twitter files will be released on Saturday.
Jordan Dixon-Hamilton is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter.