Turley Testifies on Censorship Before House Select Subcommittee

This afternoon I will testify at the first hearing of the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. Below is my written testimony.

The Twitter Files raise serious questions of whether the United States government is now a partner in what may be the largest censorship system in our history. The involvement cuts across the Executive Branch, with confirmed coordination with agencies ranging from the CDC to the CIA. Even based on our limited knowledge, the size of this censorship system is breathtaking, and we only know of a fraction of its operations through the Twitter Files. Twitter has 450 million active users but it is still only ranked 15th in the number of users, after companies such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and Pinterest. The assumption is that the government censorship program dovetailed with these other companies, which continue to refuse to share past communications or work with the government. Assuming that these efforts extended to these larger platforms, it is a government-supported censorship system that is unparalleled in history.

Regardless of how one comes out on the constitutional ramifications of the government’s role in the censorship system, there should not be debate over the dangers that it presents to our democracy. The United States government may be outsourcing censorship, but the impact is still inimical to free speech values that define our country.

It is my sincere hope that there is room for bipartisan agreement on exposing the past government involvement in censorship systems implemented by social media companies.

I also believe that we can have a civil and substantive discussion of these important questions. Despite our political divisions, we share a common article of faith in our Constitution. These are difficult questions arising as a very divisive time for our country. However, there are issues here that should transcend partisan politics as we work through the proper role of government in regulating speech. I look forward to joining these distinguished panelists.

Today there will be the two panels.

First panel:

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D., Md).

Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii

Second panel:

Mr. Thomas Baker, Former FBI Agent

Professor Jonathan Turley, George Washington University Law Center

Mr. Elliot Williams, Principal, the Raben Group

Ms. Nicole Parker, Former FBI Agent

The hearing will be held at noon and will be on C-Span3 and will be live streamed here.

Here is my written testimony: TURLEY.TESTIMONY.WEAPONIZATION

112 thoughts on “Turley Testifies on Censorship Before House Select Subcommittee”

  1. Turley leaves out a lot on these columns.

    Turns out republicans were just as prolific in demanding twitter censor content too.

    “But former Trump administration officials and Twitter employees tell Rolling Stone that the White House’s Teigen tweet demand was hardly an isolated incident: The Trump administration and its allied Republicans in Congress routinely asked Twitter to take down posts they objected to — the exact behavior that they’re claiming makes President Biden, the Democrats, and Twitter complicit in an anti-free speech conspiracy to muzzle conservatives online.”


    1. Turley’s “testimony was flatter than a pancake ran over by a Mack truck! He offered NOTHING of substance. The whole hearing turned into a “nothing burger”. Oh,,BTW, it was brought out that Trump was the one who attempted to censor Twitter, not the Bidens!!!! Jordan should suck on that “nothing burger” for awhile!!!!

  2. So long as immunity….as defined by the courts….trumps the people….our laws are clearly meaningless?! No better than stalins gulags really. So when we the people find friends in russia.. It’s for liberty and not treason…. And to that end there shall be a cease. Of hostilities. Lajes 86 545499a. end it.

  3. “To be effective, Republicans will need to hire a lead counsel to prosecute these hearings and question their witnesses, follow up, cross-examine Dems & their witnesses. Instead of pulling out new facts/revelations from witnesses, Repubs wasting time grandstanding & pontificating.”

    1. “DEVELOPING: Schiff’s impeachment pitbull Daniel Sachs Goldman has been assigned to Select Committee on the Weaponization of Gov’t, Homeland Security and Oversight & will be a sharp thorn in side of GOP. Goldman is a trust fund liberal whose family foundation gives to Soros groups” @paulsperry

      “DEVELOPING: Newly seated Dem Rep. Dan Sachs Goldman has vowed to derail GOP probes of Biden influence peddling as a member of Oversight Committee and Select Committee on the Weaponization of Gov’t. The ex-prosecutor is a trust fund baby whose family foundation funds Soros groups” @paulsperry

      “DEVELOPING: Newly seated Dem Rep. Dan Sachs Goldman is on an anti-Trump jihad to honor his late SF brother who despised Trump. Nasty & ruthless, he’s vowed to derail Biden probes by shredding GOP witnesses.The ex-prosecutor is a trust fund baby whose family fdn funds Soros groups” @paulsperry

    2. “BREAKING: Fired Twitter censor James Baker just testified he was hired at Twitter by Sean Edgett, whom records show formerly worked for Latham & Watkins–the same law firm that employs Hunter Biden’s attorney Chris Clark, who is defending him against incriminating laptop evidence” @paulsperry

    3. Repubs are totally wasting tiime…just look at their own states….where everyone has immunity. It’s per se per the Fed courts frivolous….to sue any one with immunity. Which is about everyone. In a red state. They pretend they want accountability. They don’t . If they wAnted accountability..the first thing they would do is let a cause of action! They just grand stand. Get themselves there long enough to get rich!

      1. Of they cared one bit about the rule of law…..they’d give it a caused of action…it the like immunity for their racist public private endeavors…that have killed people four at least in elmore jail…but no one is accountable even for deaths. Because of a contract. immunitty? Like the constitution doesn’t trump? No the contract does. So dianelayne. To me Jordan dead in elmore jail..the most recent judge gets none of it killing sick everyone is immune. Now even the super wants to overcome his election and be a rubber giver stamp
        ? And they want hearings really to what end? Play is people a while longer? We are done. Lajes 86 545499a! Toss me in jail. I dare you!

  4. Turley offered his legal opinion, and given his profession, tenure teaching, and years in the field his opinion should carry some weight. It isn’t uncommon for field experts to give their opinions. We’ve listened to numerous MDs during COVID hearings and foreign policy experts on a whole host of topics. This is no different.

    The folks posting here also have opinions, but truly doubtful those opinions rise to level of “expert.”

    The whining is noticeable.

  5. All looks like a coordinated hitjob, really. When did you authenticate the Twitter files, Turley? Did you speak with Musk directly? Whose your Russian handler? Who is Stefanik’s? When did you and Stefanik coordinate with Taibbi, Musk and others? These are legitimate questions based on your behavior and testimony because they are equally supported and substantiated as the demagoguery you engaged in. Answer us. What coordination did you participate in with the GQP KKKult congresscritters to prepare for this hearing and your desperate efforts to pretend that the so-called “Twitter Files” are legitimate and self-authenticating, trust and accurate copies of documents provided by Elon Musk purely out of the goodness of his heart, with a verifiable chain of custody, not the product of a stilted and skewed Musk agenda, not deliberately cherry-picked to create a false narrative and the full and open disclosure of all such documents and communications Twitter had with the gov’t about private citizens’ tweets? Hmm? Answer us! You owe it to the public to support your obviously carefully planned and scripted partisan twaddle.


      What a hoot, thanks.

    2. It’s a Democrat argument that goes like this….if you are the self-declared ‘solution,’ then it’s okay if you do what you rail against. Dems can lie and censor all they like…on the internet, or even under oath before Congress….because they are fighting the “good fight.” Likewise, Progressive idiots are flying private jets all around the world to “combat climate change!” And it’s okay, because they are fighting climate change! They are the solution!

      Despite their efforts to CENSOR the TRUTH, we the people ARE waking up to their bullsh*t lies. That is the TRUTH.


      1. We can only whine about how his places wind millls are…because winds change paths…..but Alabama power taxes ppl..by kilowatt not of production but possibility of production I served 20 heaters dod….And these people got Stockholm syndrome. Easiy. Indeed none their laws matter. At al!. As soon as they say our law……they say immunitty. Because most the laws lately are by their legislature….they are really just guidelines…….because the people in charge are immune……basically the legislature is missing in the wind. I eat about the law three years….to say what it said….but id.me persisted. I lawfuly. Points g you give everyone e I nunitty….then laws do f matter……if devolve to a court as e were some e gets the ill…..non oc c it demkcracy🔨 let’s see? It I don t it..any legal sheriff the super got was his im my it.I ity……not the rule of law!

    4. “Whose [sic] your Russian handler? [. . .]”

      When you can’t pound the facts, pound the witness — a sure sign of a losing case and of a vacuous mind.

  6. Had Debbie run an email server in her basement she might have never had such a spectacular fall, been booed by her people in Philadelphia and reduced to a lying sycophant politician.

    1. He got his ass handed to him for pretending to have any idea of what he’s talking about, pretending to be an expert despite having no knowledge, and for basically sitting there an opining like a partisan clown based on “I know what I’m talking about cuz I read it on the internet.” He shames our profession.

      1. He “got his ass handed to him” is a Democrat/social media talking point, dum dum. It is an ‘assigned opinion’ you are now regurgitating here as a good little useful idiot defending censorship and deep state power. Unreal. YOU shame “our profession.”

        1. How many times have you engaged in direct examination or cross-examination of a witness? This was an absolutely baseless clown show. He couldn’t even say whether anything he ‘read on the internet” i.e., the alleged “Twitter files”, were even authentic documents, how they were culled from Twitter’s records, what the chain of custody was, whether they were they product of a deliberate attempt to take things out of context and support a pre-determined narrative by a deranged billionaire with a chip on his shoulder and an obvious political agenda, ties to Russia and ties to America authoritarian billionaires like Thiel, all of whom want to pay no taxes at the very least and therefore want to support the GQP’s plutocratic pandering. How could anything he said and opined about have even the hint of legitimacy without basic foundations such as these or others like him having actual personal knowledge as to the regular operations of Twitter, its internal guidelines, first-hand knowledge and being privy to actual communications between them and the gov’t, etc.?? He has none of that. He was brought in because HE has an agenda, HE wants to self-aggrandize, HE likes the limelight, HE wants his paychecks from Faux News, and HE wants to say what the MAGA KKKult wants to hear regardless of the evidence or absence thereof. Anyone trying to pull a stunt like his testimony in court would have no witness, a malpractice lawsuit against them and potentially sanctions from the Court and/or Bar. HE and his antics today were a JOKE. A VERY DANGEROUS JOKE.

          1. Dumbo asks: “How many times have you engaged in direct examination or cross-examination of a witness?”

            More than you, Bucko.

          2. Question for you, Bucko. Why are you defending government censorship? Why are you giving the government (and Twitter!) the benefit of the doubt? ANY benefit of the doubt? Why are you defending censorship? It is mind boggling.

          3. When you pepper your statements with name-calling, you undermine your argument. Prof Turley was not called to testify as a fact witness. He did not personally see what happened with Twitter’s government directed censorship. He testified as an expert witness – in this instance, on the perils of censorship.

          4. MEB – What do you mean by “the chain of custody”. I heard Taibbi say in an interview that he was allowed to review Twitter files at the Twitter headquarters on its own equipment. There is no break in “the chain of custody”, unless you are suggesting that Taibbi is lying.

      2. Speaking of “ass”…..DWS is one. The rep. from NY is another one. Joe Biden is one. How many elected Democrats are there? We just don’t have time or space to name them all….

  7. Turley is no expert on twitter obviously.

    “ Wasserman Schultz took aim at George Washington University law professor and Fox News legal analyst Jonathan Turley, accusing him of offering nothing more than “opinion and pure conjecture” at the hearing.

    “Mr. Turley turning to you. Have you ever worked for Twitter?” Wasserman Schultz began.

    “No,” Turley replied.

    “Do you have any formal relationship with the company?” she followed up.

    “No, I just have an account,” Turley answered.

    Do you have any specific or special or unique knowledge about the inner workings of Twitter?” she pushed.

    “Nothing beyond the Twitter Files and what I read in the media,” Turley noted.

    “So essentially, your responses to the questions here today were your own opinion and pure conjecture?” she asked.

    “No, I wouldn’t say that. I mean, they’re based. I try to base them on what we know from the Twitter Files,” Turley responded, referencing select data dumps that Elon Musk gave to various independent journalists to comb through.

    “Well, 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 Twitter’s — 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?” Wasserman Schultz demanded.

    “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 about,” Turley replied.

    “Reclaiming my time,” Wasserman Schultz interjected. “Legal analysis is another word for opinion.”

    “I would, I would think there is some distinction. But yeah, it’s all ultimately, is an opinion. But I believe the question to me was based on what the Twitter Files show, and that was my reading of the Twitter Files,” Turley conceded.

    “Right. And again, that’s another way of describing your opinion being offered, which was represented as unique and special fact, which you don’t possess. Thank you. I yield back the balance of my time,” Wasserman Schultz concluded.”

    At least he was called out on his disingenuousness. That had to be embarrassing.

    1. Johnny “I’m an expert cuz I read it on the internet” Turley, the Trump KKKult ‘s favorite shill.

      1. Do you have an argument ?

        The KKK was an still is democrats.
        The most racist people in this country today are on the left by FAR.

  8. Jonathan: I read the testimony you will present today to the Select Committee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. The title pretty much indicates where the GOP is headed–trying to find a crime or constitutional violation where none exists. They will try prove your theory that, as you state in your testimony, the “US government is now a partner in what may be the largest censorship system in our history”.

    Now there was another 6 hour hearing yesterday by House Oversight Committee, chaired by GOP Rep. Comer, to try to prove at least one of your claims. Former Twitter execs were called to testify about the Hunter Biden laptop story. The hearing focused on the Twitter decision in 2020 to place a 24 hr. suspension on the NY Post article about the laptop. The Twitter execs admitted that decision was a mistake –but specifically denied there was government pressure to censure the story.. Former Twitter deputy GC James Baker stated: “I am aware of no unlawful collusion with, or directed from, any government agency or political campaign on how Twitter should have handled the Hunter Biden laptop situation”. All the other former Twitter execs said the same thing–they had not been contacted by the FBI to block links to the laptop story. So the hearing yesterday was a flop. The very witnesses Chairman Comer called to testify contradicted what he was desperately trying to prove.

    Now Marjorie Taylor Greene weighed in with her own claim that Twitter banned her in 2022 hoping she would lose her re-election bid. MTG claimed Twitter had violated her 1st Amendment rights and she was glad all the witnesses lost their jobs. There are 2 problems with MTG’s assertions. The 1st Amendment doesn’t apply to private companies. MTG was never very good on the Constitution. Second, Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former global head of trust and security, testified that Greene was banned, and only after repeated warnings, for posting deliberate misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccines. And Roth further said there was no government coercion in the company’s decision to ban Greene.

    So the hearing by the Oversight Committee hearing was a bust–and nothing to back up your claims that the Twitter Files show a “censorship system maintained by a joint government-corporate effort” (p. 8 of your testimony) So it remains to be seen how your testimony today will fill in the gaps or offer any evidence to back up your so far unproven allegations. Maybe you will have better luck with the “Weaponization” Committee. But zero for one is not a particularly good start.

    1. And two years is a long time. The Democrats should have conducted Church-style hearings long ago. If they had done their jobs (and, yes, I’m a Democrat) — we wouldn’t be in the mess we are now.

    2. Dennis said: “Twitter execs admitted that decision was a mistake –but specifically denied there was government pressure to censure the story…”

      Their decision to censor was never a ‘mistake.’ They ‘censored’ the story *because* it was true.

      The government itself *is* the biggest disseminator of disinformation — or ‘deliberate misinformation’ — about everything, particularly covid.

      My god, Dennis, you are a Democrat who needs to wake the eff up.

    3. Notice how the media never uses the words “without evidence” or “unproven allegagations” when it is a Democrat making the allegations?

    4. Authoritarian regimes call Truth misinformation, yet spread misinformation & call it truth. [this is what Biden IS DOING!]

  9. Prof. Turley.. as always your participation was outstanding,, knowledge, wisdom, and diplomacy.. especially in the face of some Highly Partisan ‘Pelosi’ branded Inquisitors like Reps.. Colin Allred and Dan Goldman, the latter showing off his skill at asking attacking and out-of-context questions.. and then insulting and cutting off the witnesses before they could finish answering. It was laughable when he attacked Pres. Trump for ruining the FBI morale because he was upset that the FBI was conducting wall-to-wall witch hunts, with the ‘pièce de résistance’ being that the Top Legal Battleship of the Mueller Investigation found NOTHING… Bottom-line.. your diplomacy is the finest in the face of such hostility.

  10. Note to Jonathan Turley,
    You did an exceptional job with your testimony. Your sharing of legal facts, legal and personal opinions was very informative. I watched/listened to almost all of the hearing and I appreciate your valuable input.

    Thanks you.
    Steve Witherspoon

    1. Once again, Turley did an excellent job before Congress today, as he always does in interviews. A great educator. With a great temperment. Turley also knows the difference between government abridging speech and private citizens’ free speech, even colorful and inflammatory speech. St, Ignatius said, “Set the World afire”, obviously not literally. Leftist Democrats, including Garland, think any criticism of the government is “violent,” “Throw out the bums”, is free speech. “The Government is acting like Nazis, Bolsheviks, Leninists, Maoists” is free speech. “Garland should be impeached” is free speech, and Garland has a flimsy grasp on the concept of “chilling free speech.”

      1. Oh great, our local failure to graduate romper room troll put his two cents worth in for public consumption. Svelaz, please have someone close to you plug your brain back in to the charger, your neurons need a jolt of juice.

        No facts, eh? Turley was stating facts from one legal case after another. You must have been watching Cletus on Dukes of Hazzard on a different channel again.

      2. Cute from a prodigous poster that makes declarative statements with no supporting material.
        Our hosts experience, education, and extensive library of writing, has built a substantial CV.

        You are far, far, out of your depth.

  11. It’s hilarious to watch Congressmen with room temperature IQ’s cross examine Turley and others. Goldman’s TrumpDerangementSyndrome was particularly odious as was DWS challenging JT’s legal chops This country is in big trouble with these clowns at the helm.

    1. And 201 bozo Democrats just voted to continue covid vaxx mandate for visitors coming into the U.S. WTH is the matter with these people? Besides obvious corruption, of course.

    2. What part of Turley talking and opining about things he has no actual, personal knowledge about don’t you understand? His knowledge base was “I read it on the internet.” No personal, first-person information about meetings, communications, operations, guidelines, how the so-called “Twitter files” were culled and pulled out of context and chosen for which documents would be published” while others were withheld, chain of custody, authenticity of the documents “published,” no acknowledgment of or first-hand knowledge of Elon Musk’s biases, agenda, personal vendettas…the list is endless. HE TALKED COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY OUT OF HIS PARTISAN ASS THE ENTIRE HEARING. It was a joke and he knows very well that no court in the country would have let someone testify in that manner, let alone hold themselves out as an expert on a subject in that baseless of a manner. He’s a GQP KKKult operative, no more, no less….and the rest of us attorneys think he’s a total embarrassment and smear on our profession.

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