If you’re a regular reader of this newsletter, you know how much we respect law professor Jonathan Turley, who testified at Thursday’s “Weaponization of Government” House committee. He calls them as he sees them, not as a partisan advocate on either side would, and these days it’s hard to find anyone who has both the will and the skill for that.
During Thursday’s hearing, Florida Congresswoman and former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz tried to challenge Turley’s credibility as a witness...
DWS: “So essentially, your responses to the questions here today were your own opinion and pure conjecture.”
JT: “No, I wouldn’t say that. I mean, I try to base them on what we know from the ‘Twitter Files’---
DWS: “---But you said that you don’t have any specific or unique knowledge of Twitter, but you spoke as if you did. You were asked very specific questions about the way Twitter functions and the decision-making that they make, but yet you don’t have any unique or special knowledge about Twitter and have never worked for them, and so this is only just your opinion, would you say, as a Twitter account user?”
JT: “No, I come to give legal analysis based on facts that are in the public domain, and I was really referring to what, I was asked---”
DWS: “---Legal analysis is another word for opinion.”
Turley appeared Friday night with HANNITY guest host Pete Hegseth to comment on this exchange. He said it was clear that none of the Democrats in the hearing wanted to talk about the subject of the hearing, which was the censorship program the FBI helped direct. “We have proof,” he said, “that the United States government sent lists of names of citizens and postings that they wanted to be censored. And so the Democrats did not want to talk about that, so they attacked the witnesses.”
“I got off light,” he said, noting that former Sen. Claire McCaskill, appearing on MSNBC, accused three members of the committee of being ‘Russian sympathizers’ and one of being ‘a Putin lover.’” (Note: this return to “Russia Russia Russia!!,” which Turley calls “Red Scare 2.0,” seems like the ultimate mark of desperation. How many times are they going to go to that dry well?)
“It’s trying to get people not to look over here by saying there’s a Russian over there,” Turley said.
He thought the approach was “otherworldly.” “The question to me,” he said, “was, what did these Twitter files say about ‘censorship by surrogate,’ which is what I was testifying on, and what I talk about in case law. Those are Twitter files. Twitter has confirmed the authenticity of those files.” The question to him had been, what does this evidence say about censorship?
He said that to imply he couldn’t testify about this unless he had worked at Twitter was like saying he couldn’t testify about the Pentagon Papers unless he’d worked at the Pentagon.
He found it “sad” that Democrats, who used to fight for civil liberties such as free speech as “the very touchstone of what the party meant,” didn’t seem concerned about these very serious allegations. In fact, the calls for censorship are coming FROM them. He noted that “at least 80 different employees” (!) of the U.S. government may have been participating in this censorship scheme, when the government is not supposed to censor. “It got so intense that Twitter employees complained about it.” We would add that their complaints led to them being paid $3.5 million in federal funds for all that extra work!
“We should be concerned about our government in the business of silencing citizens,” Turley said. “But there was not even a peep of objection coming from the Democrats. And I must tell you, I was surprised.”
He noted that polls show the American people are concerned with the FBI’s involvement in political activities, and also censorship. “But suddenly the Democratic Party has become this anti-free speech party.” He’s openly dismayed by this because he grew up in a family of Democrats. “I don’t know what happened to my party,” he said.
I wouldn’t want to put words in Prof. Turley’s mouth, but he sounds like a lot of people who say they didn’t leave the Democrat Party --- the Democrat Party left them.
Here’s Turley on “FOX & Friends” from Friday morning, saying it was “completely absurd” to say he didn’t know what had gone on at Twitter because he’d never worked there. “The whole premise of my testimony,” he said, “was that Twitter has now authenticated and confirmed these facts.”
The Democrats’ argument that witnesses appearing before this committee are just giving their “opinion” must’ve gone out in a memo to all their media friends, CNN included. “Hopefully,” Jake Tapper said, the GOP will be able to “produce some evidence” on allegations that the federal government is being “weaponized” against conservatives. What?
Here’s the exchange between Tapper and CNN reporter Sara Murray. “What we heard were a lot of their personal grievances,” she said dismissively. “...A lot of what we heard were personal opinions, not so much evidence to back up Jordan’s claim.” Never mind that the committee came to these hearings already armed with the evidence.
What more do they need? It reminds us once again of that scene in THE MAN WITH TWO BRAINS, in which Steve Martin asks for one little sign, just any kind of sign…
This article from THE DEFENDER provides a good summary of Thursday’s testimony. If you weren’t able to watch, I hope you’ll read it, especially the summary of testimony from former FBI agents Thomas Baker and Nicole Parker. (They were on the same panel with Turley, whose testimony is also summarized.) Both ex-agents expressed disillusionment with the change in culture at the FBI.
“Culture is where it starts,” Baker testified. “This widespread deleterious behavior over the past several years describes a culture --- not just the work of a few ‘bad apples.’” Of course, Democrats will immediately discount that as simply his opinion, though it’s based on what he has seen after 33 years in the FBI.
Parker, who worked for the FBI for 12 years, said that “the FBI’s trajectory transformed...the Bureau’s mission remained the same, but its priorities and governing principles shifted dramatically. The FBI became politically weaponized, starting from the top in Washington and trickling down to the field offices.”
“It’s as if there became two FBIs,” she said. “Americans see this and it is destroying the Bureau’s credibility.” Again, that’s her opinion --- mine as well --- but it’s based on evidence and firsthand knowledge. And when the Democrats try to blow it off, their credibility is right down there with the FBI’s.
(By the way, former Florida AG Pam Bondi spoke glowingly of former agent Parker on Friday: “I worked hand-in-hand with her on the Parkland shootings. She’s one of the best, brightest, most compassionate agents I’ve ever worked with...and the FBI, they’ve LOST HER. She resigned because of the weaponization of the FBI, and that’s going to keep happening...until the entire Department of Justice is held accountable.”)
This account from JUST THE NEWS highlights additional moments from both Wednesday and Thursday…
Committee member Anna Paulina Luna, a freshman congresswoman from Florida, gave Twitter executives the what-for as they sat at the witness table, pelting them with yes-or-no questions. When they hesitated to answer, she answered for them and pointed to the evidence of secret back-door communications, through a private Cloud server, with a government agency. What Twitter did is “highly illegal,” this firebrand said. “You were all engaged in this action, and I want you to know you will be all held accountable.”
Naturally, the WASHINGTON POST has done a hit piece on her. They tried their best (worst?) to take her down, but Jennifer Oliver O’Connell at REDSTATE responded by taking THEM down, showing WAPO’s piece for the pathetic hackery it is.
And now, WAPO is taking it back…