Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Democrat Stacey Plaskett got into several testy exchanges on Thursday as they heard from journalists Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger at a House hearing on the so-called “Twitter files.”
The hearing of the GOP-led House’s newly formed Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government follows Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s sharing of internal records with right-leaning writers in 2022 in an apparent attempt to unveil the platform’s supposed work with federal agencies to muffle conservative viewpoints.
Plaskett, a nonvoting delegate from the U.S. Virgin Islands and the panel’s top Democrat, blasted Republicans for bringing Musk’s “public scribes” to the hearing and called out the witnesses for posing “a direct threat to people who oppose them.”
She highlighted a video of former Twitter trust and safety head Yoel Roth, who in a House hearing last month testified he had to leave his home after the release of his name in internal Twitter documents led to threats and stories that revealed his address.
“This is a new Republican playbook, apparently — risk Americans’ safety and security to score political points,” said Plaskett.
Later in the hearing, Jordan, the subcommittee chair, called the writers “brave” for showing up in the wake of being named in a letter from the Federal Trade Commission seeking information on Twitter’s privacy practices.
The Republican, when asked by Plaskett if it was his “question time,” said he was responding to her “ridiculous statement” before the Democrat went back after him.
“OK, well, let’s get on with it,” Plaskett replied.
“Oh, now we want to get on with it? You can say all the things you want and I can say—” Jordan responded before the things devolved into a back-and-forth.
Plaskett later took a dig at Jordan after he claimed he wanted to focus on protecting the First Amendment.
“Point of order, Mr. Chair. Are you going to respond after everything?” Plaskett asked.
“I’m taking my five minutes,” Jordan said.
“Oh, it’s your five minutes now?” Plaskett asked.
“I’m taking my five minutes when I want to and I’m taking my five minutes now,” Jordan replied.
“OK, great,” Plaskett responded.
You can watch more clips from the tense exchanges below.