January 6, 2021 was one of the darkest days in U.S. history, a day that many see as an afront against the political process and democracy. Nine months on from the attack on the Capitol, authorities are still working through punishing those involved. And this means tech companies like Microsoft, Google, and Apple are now at the heart of political battles.
On the one side, Congress is pushing tech companies to divulge information on perpetrators of the Capitol riots. On the other side, Republicans continue to disrupt proceedings.
Investigators are trying to find out about communications between then president, Donald Trump and Republican members of Congress during the attack. Trump has often been accused of inciting the riot and the House select committee is ordering tech companies to hand over phone records from the day.
While masked as a request, it seems tech companies are being subpoenaed to provide records. 35 companies were sent requests on Monday, including Microsoft, Google, Apple, Twitter, Facebook, T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T.
While the nature of the requests is unknown, they are thought to focus on conversations between President Trump and members of Congress. It is thought both Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has communication with Trump during the attacks.
Republicans have slammed the investigation. McCarthy released a statement saying the subpoena requests are part of a plan “to strong-arm private companies to turn over individuals' private data”. He also made a direct threat to the tech companies should they get involved:
“If these companies comply with the Democrat order to turn over private information, they are in violation of federal law and subject to losing their ability to operate in the United States,” McCarthy wrote. “If companies still choose to violate federal law, a Republican majority will not forget.”
As for the companies, they have yet to offer any public or official stance on the matter. However, Google did recommit to helping the committee without explicitly mentioning the data request:
“We have received the Select Committee's letter and are committed to working with Congress on this,” a spokesperson confirmed. “The events of January 6th were unprecedented and tragic, and Google and YouTube strongly condemn them.”
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