As I have repeatedly pointed out, the first thing that James Comer chose to do after becoming Chair of the House Oversight Committee was to schedule a hearing about why he can’t look at non-consensually posted pictures of Hunter Biden’s dick on Twitter.
In letters asking former Twitter executives Jim Baker, Yoel Roth, and Vijaya Gadde to testify next week, Comer described the substance of the hearing to be about their, “role in suppressing Americans’ access to information about the Biden family on Twitter shortly before the 2020 election.” As Matt #MattyDickPics Taibbi has helpfully revealed, some of the “information about the Biden family” that Twitter suppressed Americans’ access to before the election were nonconsensual dick pics, including a number posted as part of a campaign led by Steve Bannon’s buddy Guo Wengui.
Certainly, the Twitter witnesses, who themselves have been dangerously harassed as the result of #MattyDickPics’ sloppy propaganda, would be within the scope of Comer’s stated inquiry to explain why a private company doesn’t want to be part of an organized revenge porn campaign, even if a Congressman from Kentucky wants to see those dick pics.
But Comer’s campaign also just became about something else: Twitter’s decision to suppress a story based off a laptop that its purported owner claims was unlawfully obtained.
As several outlets have reported (WaPo, CNN, NBC, ABC), Hunter Biden has hired Abbe Lowell, who has written letters to DOJ, Delaware authorities, and the IRS, asking for investigations into those who have disseminated the materials from the alleged laptop (though Lowell made clear that no one is confirming any of the versions of the laptop). Those included in the letters are:
- John Paul Mac Isaac (whom a prior lawyer, Chris Clark, had already referred to SDNY)
- Robert Costello, who first obtained the laptop from Mac Isaac
- Rudy Giuliani
- Steve Bannon
- Garrett Ziegler (who plays a key role in the January 6 investigation but who now hosts the content as part of a non-profit)
- Jack Maxey (who provided the “laptop” to multiple outlets)
- Yaacov Apelbaum (whom Mac Isaac claimed had helped to create a “forensic” image of the laptop)
The lawyers also sent a defamation letter to Tucker Carlson for a story since proven to be false.
These letters aren’t likely to change what DOJ, at least, will do about the laptop. They’ve had the Mac Isaac copy in hand for some time, and the earlier SDNY referral would likely go to the same people already investigating the theft of Ashley Biden’s diary.
Ziegler may be an exception. DOJ likely already has interest for his role in January 6, the invitation to conduct an investigation may give reason to look more closely.
Eric Herschmann is not, according to reports, on these letters but he was even pitching “laptop” content while working at the White House.
But the public coverage of this will undoubtedly change the tenor of next week’s hearing. At the very least, it will validate Yoel Roth’s concerns in real time that the NYPost story was based on stolen data. It will, retroactively, mean that the NYPost story was a violation of Twitter’s terms of service agreement.
None of (the coverage of) these letters describes a key detail: How the Oversight Committee got the copy of the laptop they claim they have. These criminal complaints are broad enough that they likely include at least a few people involved in the channel via which the Committee obtained the laptop, meaning that the Committee would be — is — harboring data from a private citizen that he claims was illegally obtained.
Significantly, the letters include false statements to Congress among the crimes raised (probably with respect to Mac Isaac). Given that Comer’s actions are premised on what Mac Isaac has claimed (and as several of these stories note, Mac Isaac’s story has changed in significant ways, and never made sense in the first place), the allegation may give the Committee further reason to exercise caution.
At the very least, it’ll give Democrats on the Committee plenty to talk about in next week’s hearing.
I thought it would take some doing to top kicking off one’s chairmanship by having a hearing to complain about non-consensual dick pics. But having a hearing to complain that stolen private information wasn’t more widely disseminated may top that.