Yahoo Finance's Rick Newman details the House Select Committee subpoenaing tech and social media platforms as part of their Jan. 6 investigation.
ZACK GUZMAN: The pressure continues to mount on big tech, less to do with monopoly pressure this time around as the House Select Committee investigating their role, big tech's role, that is, in the January 6 insurrection, issuing subpoenas to get at big tech's impact on all the events we saw play out there. For how that battle is shaping up for Meta, Google, and Twitter and more companies really attached to that, I want to bring in Yahoo Finance's Rick Newman, who has a bit more in terms of what is going on there. Rick, I mean, obviously there are some answers. And Congress didn't seem like they were getting enough of them. So this is the next step to take. I mean, what do you see playing out?
RICK NEWMAN: This seems like a pretty standard script to me, Zack. I think these companies do not want to hand over this information voluntarily because it will just feed the myth that Donald Trump puts out there about these companies being biased against conservatives. What the committee in Congress obviously wants is they want to know to what extent did the people who rioted at the Capitol used these platforms-- Twitter, Facebook, and so on-- to communicate among themselves and perhaps share information that contributed to the insurrection there and made it worse. So I think what these, I think these companies actually want a subpoena.
I think they want to be able to say, we didn't want to hand over this information, but the government made us and now we have no choice. That basically sets the stage for Congress getting what it wants and gives the tech platforms, to my mind, a kind of a plausible deniability that they're voluntarily like putting some of these Trump supporters in the crosshairs. They can say, we had no choice and we had to do it.
- Rick, this comes on the heels of a big arrest we saw yesterday from the leader of the Oath Keepers in connection with this investigation. I mean, certainly, it feels like Democrats are trying to ramp things up largely because there is a very limited timeline they can work with, right, with the midterms just around the corner.
RICK NEWMAN: Well, there are two tracks here. The first is this committee, which Democrats established-- they obviously have a very slim majority in the House. So they established this committee with-- there is a wee little bit of Republican support. There are like four Republicans in the House who supported it and two of them, of course, are on it, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. But there's a good chance Republicans are going to take the House in this year's midterm elections. And it's 100% clear that if that happens, they're just going to shut down this committee.
So anything this committee publishes in terms of new information or findings, basically, unless there's some surprise outcome in the midterms, has to happen by the end of this year. That's the first track. The second is what the Department of Justice is doing through its normal legal channels. And, of course, the Justice Department has longer.
They have, I would say, at least the other three years of the Biden administration to pursue these cases. That seems like long enough to get these prosecutions going. So that will continue for several years. Who knows what's going to happen with the House Committee after 2022.