Rep. Chris Stewart questioned Maya Wiley, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, during a House Judiciary hearing Thursday on government censorship of social media.

The committee also invited Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to testify on the subject, drawing pushback from Democratic lawmakers.

“Do you trust the government to determine what facts and views the American people should be exposed to?” Stewart, a Republican who represents Utah’s 2nd District, asked Wiley.

“I am not aware of any action of the government that tells the American public what facts they should be exposed to,” she said.

“You’re not aware of that?” he asked. “Oh my gosh, where have you lived in the last three years?”

He then asked whether it was good for governments in countries like Iran and Russia to suppress free speech, to which Wiley answered “no.”

After some back and forth, Wiley said it was unconstitutional to pass laws that would censor free speech. Stewart replied by saying laws aren’t necessary for censorship.

“Vladimir Putin doesn’t pass a law, he asserts his force and influence to suppress free speech,” he said. “Having concluded that you’re unaware of suppression of free speech in the past several years, do you think it was appropriate for the FBI to pressure private companies to censor and take down posts that the government disagreed with?”

Wiley said that there are cases of criminal prosecution when U.S. officials may ask news agencies to help protect the integrity of the investigation.

Stewart completed his remarks by asking whether it was right for the government to try to suppress information related to Hunter Biden’s laptop.

“Does it bother you that 51 former intelligence officials made a determination that the Hunter Biden laptop was Russian disinformation? That they admit, by the way, that they have no evidence at all that that was true.”

Wiley responded to the question by talking about censorship during the Trump administration.

Dems oppose testimony from Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Kennedy also testified at the hearing, after Democrats expressed anger over his invitation to address the committee.

Democrats like Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., labeled him as a nonfactual conspiracy theorist.

Early on in the hearing, Wasserman Schultz introduced a motion to transfer Kennedy’s testimony behind closed doors.

“Mr. Kennedy has repeatedly made despicable antisemitic and anti-Asian comments as recently as last week,” she said.

She referred to a recorded video where Kennedy made misleading claims about who was most likely to get sick from COVID-19, as first reported by the New York Post.

Robert Kennedy Jr. files to run for president

Kyle Herrig, executive director of the Congressional Integrity Project, which is aligned with Democrats, sent a letter, asking House committee chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, to “disinvite Kennedy” from the hearing.

Kennedy, Republicans push back on censorship

Kennedy defended himself during the hearing, saying that, in his entire life, he has “never uttered a phrase that was either racist or antisemitic.” He added that he has been a lifelong advocate for Israel.

“But I am being censored here through this target, through smears, through misinterpretations of what I’ve said, through lies, through association,” he said

Kennedy tried to shift the blame from himself to focus on the government’s influence on Big Tech.

“The term ‘malinformation’ was coined to describe information that Facebook and Twitter and the other social media sites understood was true, but that the White House and other federal agencies wanted censored anyway for political reasons because it challenged official orthodoxies,” he said.

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During his weekly press conference, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., asked why Kennedy was given a “platform to spew his hatred.”

“Here’s the answer: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a living, breathing false-flag operation.”

Meanwhile, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters Monday he disagreed with Kennedy’s portrayal of COVID-19.

“The hearing we have this week is about censorship. I don’t think censoring someone is actually the answer here,” he said.

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