What is the significance of the recent Project Veritas undercover video featuring a Google executive, in the eyes of Congressman Louie Gohmert? Have the social media giants become virtual monopolies that need to be broken up?
And how do mere mentions of amnesty, DACA, or legalization affect the crisis on the southern border?
Congressman Louie Gohmert, now in his eighth term representing the 1st district of Texas, recently sat down with Epoch Times senior editor Jan Jekielek to discuss tech giant bias and compromised border security—two key issues the congressman believes need to be addressed to preserve the American republic.
Jan Jekielek: Louie Gohmert, amazing to have you back on American Thought Leaders.
Rep. Louie Gohmert: Always great to be with you. Thank you. It’s a pleasure.
Mr. Jekielek: So our plan today is to talk a little bit about the border crisis. But I think we have to jump into something very topical ahead of that. I know you’ve had some thoughts about this Project Veritas undercover video of Google that just came out recently. And actually from what we’re hearing—and Google actually took it down—a Google employee was actually caught on camera talking about 2020 and Google, and she said that it was basically in reference to stopping foreign election meddling. Do you believe this?
Rep. Gohmert: No. And, in fact, they made it very clear in the comments during that video. And even if they say they’re taken out of context, the things that are said are very clear. They do not—at Google, which apparently owns YouTube—they do not intend to allow Trump to be reelected or anyone like Trump to ever be elected again. And unfortunately they do have that much power. So many rely on Google to find out what’s going on. You put something in for a search, and it takes you to the things that they want you to know and not the things they don’t want you to know. So, it is pretty scary actually what’s been going on.
That 25-minute video Project Veritas had done is terrific. People ought to watch it. And they need to know that [this is] far more of a threat than the Russians were to our last election or the Chinese were who actually hacked Hillary Clinton’s personal server as our intel community established, without any question, even though the FBI refused to ever examine the evidence. There’s no question China was involved. But we’ve also had hearings where we’ve asked how much money did the Russians pay from your records to influence the election in 2016?
Mr. Jekielek: Right. Right.
Rep. Gohmert: And it was, if I recall correctly, about $4,500. So Google and YouTube have far more power to affect our elections. And obviously from the things that were said on the video, they’d rather have somebody that Russia approves of than somebody that the American people want. Scary stuff.
Mr. Jekielek: So, Google actually—or YouTube—took down the video presumably because of privacy violations. There’s a couple of Google employees in there. What do you think about that?
Rep. Gohmert: I think it’s further evidence that they should not be having immunity under Section 230 that they were granted many years ago because their position was, we’re a platform, we’re like a town square. Anybody can come in our town square or platform, say whatever they want. We’re not editors at all.
Mr. Jekielek: Right.
Rep. Gohmert: Well, we now know that’s simply not true. They edit. They pick and choose. They intentionally set up algorithms to suppress conservative ideas, strong Christian ideas and influence. They have made a material change in this country for the worst and have helped to do a great deal to end freedom of speech by the way they manipulate their algorithms. And as I’ve told the people from Google and YouTube and other such internet providers—in fact one of them at a hearing said, look, we want to be treated like Fox News or anybody else. And I said, I want you to be treated like Fox News, and they can be sued for things that they do that are wrong or for false statements. You need your immunity removed.
And I’m not a big fan of a lot of regulations, especially when we start overregulating. But I do think it’s time for the Justice Department to look at a monopoly. As we’ve seen, if somebody gets another good search engine going, it’s easy for Google to help put them out of business. Or if they can’t do that, snatch them up. So they have become a monopoly. They are controlling so much and preventing others from getting into that area. It’s time for them to potentially be broken up.
But as we see on the video from Project Veritas, you have a longstanding official of Google not knowing she’s on video, but saying, gee Elizabeth Warren is calling for us to be broken up. She doesn’t understand. If we get broken up, we can’t stop Trump or somebody like Trump from being elected. You can’t break us up. We can stop it. And we can’t if we get broken up, which is the reason they need to be broken up. We shouldn’t have one corporation so powerful that they can, by themselves, decide who gets elected president. Scary stuff.
Mr. Jekielek: Well, Google and Facebook effectively, I mean, have they become the public square?
Rep. Gohmert: Yeah, they are.
Mr. Jekielek: Doesn’t that change the game somehow?
Rep. Gohmert: It wouldn’t if they didn’t doctor who gets to come into the public square. But if anybody could come into their platform, their town square and say anything they wanted, then now we’d be OK. But since they are materially affecting who gets to be heard in their platform or town square, then yes, they need to be broken up. It is far too dangerous, what’s going on.
Mr. Jekielek: So how would a process of stripping these social media giants of this immunity work?
Rep. Gohmert: It wouldn’t be difficult at all. We just simply have to pass it through the House and Senate and that would—and I’ve been pushing for this—remove their exemption, their immunity from Section 230.
Mr. Jekielek: Right.
Rep. Gohmert: And so we take it out of that section, [so] they are no longer immune. And I know you’re familiar with Diamond and Silk, like they’ve said, they paid money to have their name and stuff come up more often, and then they find out actually they got suppressed. Well that would be called fraud in the real world for anybody that’s not immune from liability. I can imagine, if we can remove the immunity from lawsuits, that Google and YouTube and others would be subject to massive class action lawsuits by people they had defrauded, that they had taken money from, and actually done the opposite of what they contracted to do as they did with Diamond and Silk.
Last time I saw them, I said, how is your access doing? Oh, now anytime we even mention President Trump, then we spend hours trying to justify that we’re not a Russian robot. And they have to answer all these questions to try to stay online. So it’s really outrageous what they’ve become. It started out as a great assistance, the way we were searching. But they’ve gotten so good at manipulating search results that they really can prevent any Republican from ever getting elected again, unless their monopoly is removed and they are not immune from lawsuits.
Mr. Jekielek: Just reminds me a little bit of Robert Epstein’s research around it, basically how subtly the search engine results can be manipulated and so forth.
Mr. Jekielek: So for those watching, you can actually watch the video on The Epoch Times website, but you’ve put it up as well, right?
Rep. Gohmert: Well, yes, since YouTube’s taken it down, we wanted to make sure people had access to accurate information. Doesn’t appear anything to be unethical, inappropriate. So it’s on our website.
Also we put it up on our Twitter. It’s at @replouiegohmert, and you can find the video. It’s 25 minutes, and people need to watch it. They need to know the truth. So we’ve got it available, and Google and YouTube can’t take it down.
Mr. Jekielek: All right, let’s jump to the border.
Rep. Gohmert: Yeah.
Mr. Jekielek: You’ve been to the border.
Rep. Gohmert: A lot of people do. A lot of people are jumping there and then crossing, so yeah.
Mr. Jekielek: And you’ve been to the border many times.
Rep. Gohmert: Many times, all night long. Yeah, many times.
Mr. Jekielek: Tell me what’s going on there from your perspective right now.
Rep. Gohmert: Well, it’s not from my perspective. I hear from Border Patrol, it is getting worse. It’s getting worse. And like the bill that we’re taking up now, the House has a bill that’s just going to add lots of money for beds and food and not one penny, in fact—as I understand the language—[it] would prevent the president for using any of it to secure the border. Well, that will just exacerbate the problem.
Rep. Gohmert: And the Senate bill, it’s better than the House bill, but even the Senate bill is not allowing money to secure the border. So we’ve got a major problem, and this at a time when we’re seeing that illegal immigration has become the most important issue for most people in America. They’re seeing the results of our failure to secure our border. And yet the bill in the House and Senate—the Senate’s bill is better, but neither one of them got money to actually build wall or secure the border. And so it’s going to keep getting worse until we actually secure the border.
Mr. Jekielek: So we actually have a reporter Charlotte Cuthbertson down at the Guatemala-Mexico border right now. And she’s been talking to a lot of migrants from Haiti excuse me, from Africa as well. It almost seems like a lot of the world is coming down there. Of course with an aim to get into America.
Rep. Gohmert: They’ve had Africans in the past that’ll be part of this group or that group that come across. It’s all of course orchestrated by the drug cartels. But we just, in the last couple of weeks, had the biggest African group ever—116 Africans coming across the Mexico-U.S. border. Obviously, they come across paying the drug cartels in Mexico, but that is incredible. One hundred and sixteen come all the way from Africa just to come in illegally across our southern border. And not that we don’t want Africans. I’ve done what I can to help Nigerian friends try to get in legally. But this is serious stuff. This is actually country-ending stuff. When you don’t secure your border, then you’re not really a country. You’re just a pass through.
Mr. Jekielek: What about this U.S.-Mexico deal that the president figured out recently? What do you think the impact of that’s going to be?
Rep. Gohmert: It will help, but unless we do more to secure our border it’s only going to be a short-term Band-Aid. And I’ve met with the ambassador from Guatemala in the last two weeks, and it sounds like they’re really wanting to help. And I think they’ll be a big help. El Salvador’s a different story. Honduras, a different story. But I’ll just also say, you hear anybody in El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, say that we should not secure the U.S.-Mexico border, saying that we don’t need a wall anywhere, then I can guarantee you they are getting money from the drug cartels.
Mr. Jekielek: Right. So do you think Mexico is basically living up to its side of the bargain here? They actually are doing some things to assist us in securing our border, but they have not been as much help as we need them to be.
Rep. Gohmert: But the best thing we can do for Mexico, for the people of Mexico, is to secure the border, which would then cut the tens of billions of dollars they’re getting regularly for drug sales in America and for people coming in illegally. We cut that off. Then the corruption in Mexico comes to a crawl. And the people of Mexico, we’ll see their economy … I really believe it would be a top-10 economy if we could get rid of the corruption from the drug cartels. They’ve got fantastic natural resources, some of the hardest-working people in the world, great location. The one thing holding them back is the drug cartels.
Mr. Jekielek: So you mentioned before that anytime someone in Washington mentions amnesty or DACA or DREAMers—
Rep. Gohmert: Legalization, any of those.
Mr. Jekielek: The situation gets worse. What do you mean?
Rep. Gohmert: It becomes a shining object. It becomes a lure. And I’ve heard this from people down on the border. Yeah, when we mention any of those things here, then the message goes out to people south of our border. And even in other countries, in other continents like Africa, South America, they know we’re talking about legalization for people that are here. So it becomes this huge rush to try to get to the U.S. border so that you can be included in that new amnesty deal that’s being pushed. So it just causes even greater influx. It’s a huge problem.
Mr. Jekielek: OK. So you’ve mentioned basically stopping the drug cartels. You’ve obviously been a judge for years yourself. What do you would make most sense, what other steps could be done to actually deal with this immigration crisis meaningfully?
Rep. Gohmert: Well, there are still critical areas where we need wall that we don’t have it yet. And it needs to have a road on either side of the wall, barrier fence, whatever you want to call it. We need to move immigration judges right to the border so that when somebody claims asylum, you take them right into court and say, you’re not going to be released on bond because you’re getting a hearing now. And have the hearing then. There’s really not a lot of reason for discovery or any of these top procedures. If they have a valid claim, most of the time you can tell it pretty immediately based on what they say. Now, they’re getting advice now from people that tell them how to lie and what to say and what to make up so they can stay in the country. But we ought to look into that too.
Rep. Gohmert: If lawyers are telling clients to lie, then there are problems for those lawyers staying lawyers. There should be. So those are things that could be done, should be done. And we do need to change our asylum laws so that it cannot be claimed on our border. If you want to come in, then we say you can’t claim asylum; our law requires you go to your embassy in your country or your consulate. It has to be claimed at a U.S. Embassy or consulate in your country. You can’t come to our borders. So you can’t claim asylum. So what else you got? And then they would have to be returned because they don’t have anything else, not legally.
Mr. Jekielek: So we’re going to have to wrap up in a moment. Just a final question here. There’s been a lot of criticism of the facilities where illegal immigrants are being housed and so forth. There’s been photos circulating on social media. Some of them are actually from 2015 during the previous presidency. What do you make of all that?
Rep. Gohmert: Well, it’s nice that Democrats have finally noticed that what happened during the Obama administration was totally inadequate. And there are too many people there, but they’re wanting to address the conditions—which need addressing—instead of also addressing the cause. It is going to get worse and worse and worse. More and more people will keep coming if we don’t secure the border, and we simply do not have enough money in this country to house everybody. We’re told there are over a billion people in the world that want to come to America. We have got to stop this. No country allows as many people in legally as we do—over a million people a year. Nobody, not China, not anybody. But we do that because we’re the most generous country in the world. But it has to be legal. Or this little experiment in self-government is going to be over. Some say from climate change within 12 years. I will tell you this country as we know it will be over in 12 years if we don’t get a handle and start controlling our border.
Mr. Jekielek: Louie Gohmert, thank you for being here.
Rep. Gohmert: Always good to be with you. I appreciate what y’all do. You do great work. Thank you.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.