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Transcript: Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi and Mike Gallagher on “Face the Nation,” March 17, 2024

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Transcript: Reps. ***** Krishnamoorthi and Mike Gallagher on “Face the Nation,” March 17, 2024

The following is a transcript of an interview with Reps. ***** Krishnamoorthi, Democrat of Illinois, and Mike Gallagher, *********** of Wisconsin, that aired on March 17, 2024.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to Face the Nation. Last week the House passed a bill requiring TikTok to divest from its ******** owner or face removal from US app stores. Joining us now are the leaders of the House Select Committee on the ******** ********** Party, *********** Mike Gallagher and Democrat ***** Krishnamoorthi. Good morning to you both.

REP. ***** KRISHNAMOORTHI: Good morning. 

REP. MIKE GALLAGHER: Thanks for having us.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Congressman Krishnamoorthi, I want to go to you as the lead Democrat here. President Biden said he would sign this bill if it makes it to his desk. Have you gotten any indication from Leader Schumer that the Senate will take this up, or whether this legislation will **** in the Senate?

REP. KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, we’ve gotten indication that the leader is going to take it up in his process. And obviously, we respect his process. Mike and I have had conversations, very positive ones, with different members of the Senate who are very interested in this bill and who were very surprised by the- the size or the margin of the overwhelming bipartisan support in the House. And as you know, the White House has asked the Senate to take up this bill quickly.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But as you know, President Biden has his campaign on TikTok. Do you agree with Senator Warner that it looks like he’s basically speaking out of both sides of his mouth on this one? Is it unhelpful?

REP. KRISHNAMOORTHI: No- I look, I’m not going to tell the president how to campaign. I don’t have it on my personal app- on my personal phone. And it’s of course banned from all of our government devices. I would just say that it’s legal now, but I would ask everyone to exercise caution with regard to the app because of the various risks that we’ve outlined as part of this bill.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Congressman Gallagher on the risks, we are eight months out from the presidential election and in the US intelligence assessment that was made public on Monday, it specifically mentioned that the ******** government *********** arm used TikTok to target candidates from both political parties in those midterm elections in 2022. So we can only assume this is going to be happening in 2024 as well. Do you actually believe a forced ***** will happen before November?

REP. GALLAGHER: It absolutely could. It would be in the financial interest of Bytedance’s, investors to effectuate a forced *****. I think the user experience on the app would improve, and you wouldn’t have this concern over being propagandized. The opaque algorithm influencing what information you see, that would go away so I imagined it would actually increase in value. And I think all the more reason why we have to tackle this now, the closer we get to an election, the risk just gets greater and greater. You mentioned that unclassified DNI report. Every single intelligence community official that testified before the Intelligence Committee last week suggested under its current ownership structure, TikTok is a threat to national security, which is why we are trying to force TikTok to separate from Bytedance and by extension from the ******** ********** Party.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But we’ve been hearing, respectfully, for four years or more that this is a national security threat and something needs to be done and then it ***** in Congress or in the courts. If this version becomes law, how does this actually- how do you actually stop it? Because this app is already on 170 million phones, can you claw it back?

REP. GALLAGHER: Well, if a divestiture happens, if the ***** happens, you wouldn’t need to claw it back. People can continue to use the app and post your dance videos, campaign on the app–  

MARGARET BRENNAN: — But how do you force a company– 

REP. GALLAGHER:– The force- the- the forcing function we have in the bill is if they do not pursue a *****, then they would no longer have access to the App Store. So you couldn’t do new downloads. The website would actually- would also be affected. And so it would affect the functionality of the app. But again, that’s not the outcome we want. The outcome we want is a forced separation. We think that’s the healthiest for all parties involved. And just given the- the reporting we have and TikTok’s own behavior in the last month. Look at the popup notification, they forced on millions of users that resulted in kids calling with school bells in the background saying, you know, if you don’t- if you don’t rescind this bill, I’m going to ***** myself. That’s just a taste of how this app can be weaponized. Imagine a more consequential vote going forward about an authorizing force to defend Taiwan or altering permanent, normal trade relations status with China. That’s the risk we’re trying to guard against.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But is it really, gentlemen, just TikTok? I mean, there are no guardrails, virtually, in place for any kind of social media that those kids or us adults have access to Congressman Krishnamoorthi.

REP. KRISHNAMOORTHI: I agree, and Mike and I would love to work with others with regard to putting guardrails in place with regard to other apps, regardless of their ownership. But this one is different in the sense that we have a foreign adversary controlling this app, just to give your viewers a sense of it. Essentially, Bytedance is the 100% owner of Tiktok. Bytedance basically has its Editor-in-Chief, who’s also the secretary of the ******** ********** Party cell embedded at the highest echelons of the company, to control all of its products. And he has been tasked with, quote making sure all of its products, including TikTok, adhere to correct political direction. And so this is a different type of threat than we’ve seen before. And this divestment is not without precedent. There was an app called Grindr, a popular LGBTQ app that was acquired by a ******** company and when the US government found that the CCP had access to sensitive data about LGBTQ members of the military and US government officials, it required the divestment. It happened very quickly. Why? Because the app is very- was very valuable, much like TikTok and there was no disruption to users. That’s what will happen with regard to this divestment as well.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Congressman Gallagher, Mike Pence was here saying how disappointed he was that Donald Trump has changed his views on TikTok. This week, he was on CNBC and said that, you know, oh well, it’ll just benefit

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if you ****** down on TikTok. Doesn’t that just incentivize the slow rolling of any legislation until after November? You know, the lobbyists can really grab right on to that.

REP. GALLAGHER:  While there is a- an unprecedented lobbying campaign, they’re really weaponizing the swamp against legislative action. Over half a million dollars spent last quarter alone on seven different lobbying firms. It’s disgusting. Former members of Congress lobbying on behalf of TikTok. By the way, that should be ********. Members of Congress should not be allowed to lobby in general, let alone on behalf of foreign adversaries. Side note, but I do think the fact that we got a vote, really a huge vote in the House,  bipartisan- 352, makes it impossible to ignore. And that’s a testament to *****’s leadership, the fact that we were able to come together at a time when the parties don’t trust each other on anything. Far better for Congress to step up and legislative solutions so that we’re not bouncing back and forth between different presidents, different executive orders. That’s a recipe for chaos. 


And to be fair here– 

REP. KRISHNAMOORTHI: — Margaret, can I jump in for a second?  

MARGARET BRENNAN: — Sure. I do just want to say that TikTok, as you know, insists that it is not under the control of the ******** ********** Party. Go ahead, Congressman. 

REP. KRISHNAMOORTHI: That is completely- that is completely false. And that is exactly why TikTok is in trouble on Capitol Hill. Their CEO has appeared on Capitol Hill repeatedly, and made various misrepresentations, Margaret, that have caused members on both sides to really scratch their heads and vote for this bill. Just two- I’ll just point out two very briefly. One is that he claimed that Bytedance, China-based employees never had access to ********* user data. And that was proven to be false. They repeatedly access it, even unbeknownst to TikTok USA employees. And the second misrepresentation is that he said that this data, ********* user data, was never used against Americans. That was proven false. And the company admitted that they spied on journalists who were covering TikTok, and they used their geolocation data to surveil them. So this is why there is such hot water on Capitol Hill. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Congressman, thank you for joining us in this rare bipartisan action, very quickly on Tiktok. We’ll be following what happens next. Thank you. And we’ll be right back.

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#Transcript #Reps #***** #Krishnamoorthi #Mike #Gallagher #Face #Nation #March

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