The White House on Wednesday refused to answer a question about the Hunter Biden laptop saga and whether his father’s presidential campaign asked Twitter to classify the information as constituting “hacked materials.”
The Hunter Biden story has been back in the news thanks to new Twitter owner Elon Musk releasing the Twitter Files, which detail how the company suppressed news about the laptop in the 2020 presidential campaign’s final weeks.
“Did anyone from the Biden team communicate to Twitter that this material was from hacked materials?” a reporter asked White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre during Wednesday’s press briefing.
The question is important because Twitter’s company policy at the time was to restrict stories if they were based on hacked material, the reporter said. However, there was no official or law enforcement action finding that the material on the laptop was, in fact, hacked.
Jean-Pierre said she could not answer the question.
“I can’t speak to decisions made by the campaign from here,” she said. “It is a political campaign, so I can’t speak to that from here. I’m covered by the Hatch Act, so I’m just not going to comment on the question that you’re asking me.”
Jean-Pierre has repeatedly cited the Hatch Act, which prohibits government employees from engaging in overt political campaigning, as a reason she cannot answer questions from reporters. The practice has drawn some controversy from those who say she is overusing it.
The press secretary did weigh in on the matter in a more general way, saying the decision was Twitter’s to make rather than the Biden campaign.
“What I can say more broadly is, of course it’s up to these companies to make their own decisions about the content on their platforms and to ensure content follows their own standards and policies,” Jean-Pierre said. “But I’m just not going to comment on a decision that was made during the campaign.”