YouTube confirmed it removed a video of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) speaking on the Senate floor and mentioning the alleged impeachment whistleblower’s name.
Paul said the move was tantamount to censorship.
Ivy Choi, a spokesperson for the Google-owned video-sharing platform, denied that it is censoring Paul, explaining why it chose to blacklist the clip. The firm removed thousands of videos that contained the alleged whistleblower’s name.
“Videos, comments, and other forms of content that mention the leaked whistleblower’s name violate YouTube’s Community Guidelines and will be removed from YouTube,” Choi said to news outlets. “We’ve removed hundreds of videos and over ten thousand comments that contained the name. Video uploaders have the option to edit their videos to exclude the name and reupload.”
He remarked, “Apparently, YouTube has taken it upon itself to decide what questions can even be asked in the public debate, including on the Senate floor.”
During President Donald Trump's impeachment inquiry and trial, some congressional Republicans had pushed to compel testimony from the whistleblower, former Vice President Joe Biden, and son Hunter Biden. They claimed that Rep. Adam Schiff's (D-Calif.) staffers had contact with the anonymous CIA officer before they submitted their complaint to the intelligence community inspector general's office.
Democrats, however, have said that the whistleblower's testimony is not needed because other witnesses had come forward to testify. And at the time, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), said in November that it's important for laws on whistleblowers to be followed.
But Schiff, during the trial, said that he doesn't know the identity of the whistleblower and said his staff had not coached the person, as had been alleged. “I am very protective of my staff as I know you are,” Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said at the time. “The whistleblower did exactly what they should,” he added.
“I should have been much more clear,” he said at the time. “And I said so the minute it was brought to my attention that I was referring to the fact that when the whistleblower filed the complaint, we had not heard from the whistleblower. We wanted to bring the whistleblower in at that time. But I should’ve been much more clear about that.”