Liberals and the liberal media are praising Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) for what they are claiming was a real “gotcha” moment when she questioned George Washington University law professor and Fox News legal analyst Jonathan Turley during Thursday’s House Judiciary Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government hearing, but, as usual, the left isn’t telling folks the entire story.
Wasserman Schultz began by asking Turley if he ever worked for Twitter, to which the legal expert answered, “no.”
She asked him if he had “any formal relationship” with Twitter, and Truley replied that he did not, he only had a Twitter account.
“Do you have any specific or special or unique knowledge about the inner workings of Twitter?” Wasserman Schultz asked.
“Nothing beyond the Twitter Files and what I read in the media,” Turley said.
And that’s when Wasserman Schultz went in for the bazinga.
“So essentially, your responses to the questions here today were your own opinion and pure conjecture?” she shot back.
“No, I wouldn’t say that,” Turley replied. “I mean, they’re based — I try to base them on what we know from the Twitter Files.”
“Well, but you said that you don’t have any specific or unique knowledge of Twitter, but you spoke as if you did,” Wasserman Schultz snapped. “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?”
“No,” Turley replied. “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.”
Wasserman Schultz didn’t want to go there.
“Reclaiming my time!” she exclaimed, before stating, “Legal analysis is another word for opinion.”
“I would– I would think there is some distinction,” Turley responded. “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,” he stated.
According to podcaster Molly Jong-Fast, “Debbie Wasserman Schultz is crushing Jonathan Turley.”
Debbie Wasserman Schultz is crushing Jonathan Turley
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) February 9, 2023
PoliticusUSA declared, “With that, another one of the Republican star witnesses was taken apart.”
And that was the line that was picked up and amplified on — where else? — Twitter.
By the end of the exchange, Turley had to admit that all he was offering were essentially his opinions. With that, another one of the Republican star witnesses was taken apart.
The hearing itself was an insult to oversight.https://t.co/ipBabtTCYE
— Lise Latulippe Fully Vaccinated and Boosted (@lise_latulippe) February 10, 2023
3) Wasserman Schultz reclaimed her time and said legal analysis is another word for opinion. By the end of the exchange, Turley had to admit that all he was offering were essentially his opinions.
“With that, another one of the Republican star witnesses was taken apart.”
— Hal Corley (@Halcyon270) February 10, 2023
“By the end of the exchange, Turley had to admit that all he was offering were essentially his opinions. With that, another one of the Republican star witnesses was taken apart.” https://t.co/jXiTrQtfx8
— Robert Franek (@robertfranek) February 9, 2023
But wait a minute.
What was that last thing Turley said?
“I believe the question to me was based on what the Twitter Files show, and that was my reading of the Twitter Files.”
See, that’s the part the liberals are leaving out.
Turns out, Turley was asked for his opinion as a legal expert on the Twitter Files and the impact of the government’s use of Private Industry “to circumvent the First Amendment” by Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.).
“We have seen two issues stemming from this abuse and change of priorities within the FBI and DOJ. They are either investigating Americans based upon their Constitutionally protected rights or they are flagging lawful action to which they have political objection,” Hageman began. “In some of your recent writings, you have identified two very important points from the revelation of the FBI/Twitter relationship. First, that this relationship is a First Amendment violation as it constitutes censorship by surrogate or proxy, and, second, you also are concerned that you don’t know what is more menacing, the role the FBI played in the Twitter censorship program or its response to the disclosure of that role.”
“The Constitution is a limited governance document. The First Amendment identified our God-given right to speak freely and imposes restraint that the government shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech,” she stated before asking, “Mr. Turley, can you explain the implications of the government relying on Private Industry to circumvent the First Amendment?”
Turley responded by noting that the Supreme Court and lower courts “have spent a great deal of time trying to define when a relationship with a private party can cross over to a type of agency relationship.”
It’s “a difficult line,” Turely admitted.
“But in these Twitter Files, there’s a very disturbing picture that emerges,” he continued. “You have regular meetings between the FBI and Twitter. They even offered to give clearances to Twitter officials. You have complaints among Twitter employees that this is overwhelming in terms of the number. And what you really see is how insatiable censorship becomes, that eventually they were doing what appeared to be word searches and just sending all of these postings in for possible action by Twitter. And that included things like jokes and other things that anyone looking at it would realize that this is not a nefarious Russian operation.”
“So, when we talk about surrogate censorship, we’re talking about one of the most serious threats against free speech,” Turley explained.
“You know, people always say, ‘well, you know, the First Amendment only applies to the government,'” he said. “The First Amendment is not synonymous with free speech. It deals with one problem of free speech. What we’re talking about with surrogate censorship is a much greater problem for those of us who value free speech as a defining right of this country.”
So, to recap, Debbie Wasserman Schultz spent her time with the talking stick snidely grilling a legal expert for stating his legal opinion of the implications of the government’s relationship with Twitter as described in Twitter Files after he was specifically asked to give his legal opinion of the implications of the government’s relationship with Twitter as described in Twitter Files.
It was a truly epic takedown of the painfully obvious.
Appearing Friday on Friday on “Fox & Friends,” Turley called the attack on his credibility “completely absurd.”
(Video: Fox News)
“The congresswoman was asking if I’ve ever worked at Twitter as a condition for my talking about the Twitter files,” he said. “It’s like saying you have to work at the Pentagon if you want to testify about the implications of the Pentagon Papers.”
“The point of witnesses before committees is often to give legal analysis based on what is known and what could be found in this investigation,” he continued. “The exchange she was referring to was a member who expressly asked me about the Twitter Files and what this suggests about what I’ve called censorship by surrogate. And then she went into this issue of, ‘well, you’ve never worked at Twitter. How do you know what goes on at Twitter,’ which is completely absurd.”
“The whole premise of my testimony was that Twitter has now authenticated and confirmed these facts,” he stated. “These facts are coming from Twitter. These are Twitter files. And the facts indicate that they had weekly meetings with the government. They indicate that the government would send long lists of citizens and others to be targeted, censored, to be in some cases, banned.”
“Those are very serious allegations that raise constitutional questions,” Turley said, “which is why I was there to discuss it.”
To quote Paul Harvey, “And now you know the rest of the story.”
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