Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) violated the First Amendment and, arguably, his oath to uphold the Constitution in 2020 when his office demanded that Twitter suspend the account of Paul Sperry, an investigative journalist.
Sperry happens to be the journalist who reported in 2019 that the “whistleblower” who worked with Schiff to engineer the impeachment investigation against President Donald Trump was Eric Ciamarella, a CIA analyst who had worked at the White House. Though Democrats convinced the media and Silicon Valley to suppress the story, Sperry’s reporting was never refuted, and the article remains live at RealClearInvestigations today.
This week, investigative journalist Matt Taibbi revealed in the “Twitter Files” that Schiff’s office at the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee sent a list of requests to Twitter, including that it suspend Sperry.
27.They also received an astonishing variety of requests from officials asking for individuals they didn’t like to be banned. Here, the office for Democrat and House Intel Committee chief Adam Schiff asks Twitter to ban journalist Paul Sperry: pic.twitter.com/SXI1ekqi13
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) January 3, 2023
Schiff claimed, without evidence, that Sperry was spreading “QAnon conspiracy theories.” (Sperry denies he has ever done so, anywhere.) Twitter declined that request, but suspended Sperry in 2022 with no explanation.
The attempt by any member of Congress to suppress the freedom of expression of a journalist is a flagrant violation of the First Amendment, which specifically restricts Congress from interfering in a free press.
That violation is even more egregious when perpetrated by a congressional leader with unique access to secret information, and who implies that he has evidence no one else does and is acting to protect national security.
Schiff, who is now considering a run for U.S. Senate, is a frequent guest on mainstream media news programs, who have given him wide latitude for years to promote unfounded claims, such as the “Russia collusion” hoax.
These journalists, who described Trump as a threat to press freedom merely for insulting the media, have a professional and ethical duty to demand that Schiff explain why he thought he could censor any journalist.
It is also worth revisiting Schiff’s egregious record on civil rights in general. Last year, this author outlined five reasons that a new Republican-run Congress should subpoena Schiff — as he has subpoenaed so many others.
1. Russia “collusion.” Schiff claimed in March 2017 that there was “more than circumstantial evidence” … he must be asked what the “more than circumstantial evidence” was, and if he abused his role.
2. Impeachment “whistleblower.” .. Schiff demanded at first that the whistleblower be given a chance to testify, then refused to provide [him] … He also lied about whether his committee staff had contact with [him].
3. Snooping on colleagues. In the … impeachment report, Schiff included telephone records that he had subpoenaed without the targets’ knowledge. These included the records of then-Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA).
4. Abuse of subpoena powers. The January 6 Committee has … issu[ed] subpoenas for the telephone and bank records of private citizens, often with little notice or recourse. Meanwhile, leaks from the committee have been constant.
5. Infiltration of Colbert staffers. Several staffers for Stephen Colbert’s comedy show were arrested … week for unlawful entry into the Capitol … The staffers were reportedly allowed into the building by staffers for Schiff and Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA).
Add Schiff’s attempt to censor an investigative journalist to that list. He must answer for his assault on the Constitution’s most cherished freedoms.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.