Rep. Mike Turner, the incoming chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that Republicans will seek the FBI’s “secret files” of contacts in Big Tech and the media — and are willing to exert their subpoena power to obtain the information.
Turner (R-Ohio) said the committee this year learned of “these activities” — also revealed in the series of reports known as the “Twitter Files” focusing on censorship of The Post’s 2020 expose on Hunter Biden.
According to the latest installment released Friday, the FBI had “constant and pervasive” contact with Twitter, viewing the social media giant as a “subsidiary” and labeling numerous accounts as “misinformation.”
“It is my understanding from our contacts that we have had with the FBI that there are secret files that the FBI has of these contacts that they were having with social media and with mainstream media,” Turner said on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”
“And it has been our objective to get ahold of those files, to see the extent of this, so we can stop it, we can cut off the funding and prevent, obviously, average Americans being impacted by FBI actions,” he continued.
Republicans won a narrow majority in the House in the Nov. 8 midterm elections that will give them the authority to issue subpoenas to compel testimony at hearings.
Turner said so far the FBI has resisted their efforts, but “we certainly intend to pursue subpoena power to expose the extent to which the FBI has been doing this.”
Independent journalist Matt Taibbi on Friday described the FBI’s relationship with Twitter as having a “master-canine quality” with “constant and pervasive” contact between the bureau and the social media giant.
“Between January 2020 and November 2022, there were over 150 emails between the FBI and former Twitter Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth,” Taibbi wrote, referring to the executive who helped suppress The Post’s exclusive reporting in October 2020 on Hunter Biden’s overseas business dealings in Ukraine and China.
A “surprisingly high number” of the FBI’s messages were requests “for Twitter to take action on election misinformation,” including obvious jokes from accounts with few followers, Taibbi said.
Turner, in the Fox News interview, thanked Twitter owner Elon Musk for releasing the information about the company and its handling of The Post’s Hunter Biden stories.
”While we pursue the intelligence community to try to hold them accountable, while we’re doing that, Elon Musk is showing what’s happening on the other side with the willing partners, the mainstream media, social media, and really exposing the coordination that was occurring between the FBI and them,” Turner said.
Host Maria Bartiromo asked Turner if Republicans had already requested documents from the FBI.
“Absolutely,” he replied.
He said the committee has learned that the FBI “under the cover of saying that they were pursuing foreign malign influence, had really exploded into activities that involved engaging with mainstream media and social media, and really impacting what is the normal debate of democracy.”
He referred to a Fox News interview with John Ratcliffe, who served as the director of national intelligence in the Trump administration, in which he said the intelligence community had no evidence that the Hunter Biden laptop was Russian disinformation.
“What’s very troubling here, in my opinion, this was not based on intelligence. You had John Ratcliffe on your own show saying, for example, the Hunter Biden laptop, which the FBI was trying to intervene and saying that was Russia misinformation, and he said there was no intelligence that substantiated that,” Turner said.
He said he believes the Republican investigation will ultimately uncover “that this is a campaign by the FBI that really is outside of the bounds of anything we would expect them to do, and certainly very constitutionally troubling.”
Turner also said the committee will set its sights on who masterminded the FBI’s communications with Twitter.
“Since this is not based on intelligence. This is not for malign actors, that the malign actors turned out to be the FBI themselves. Who is it that’s coordinating this? How can we cut off the money, prohibit this in the future?” he said, adding that “we will use our subpoena power to track that down and make certain that this doesn’t happen again.”