Elizabeth Warren accused of hypocrisy over spat about Justice Department’s Google suit

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren accused Google of trying. “bully” a Biden Administration antitrust enforcer into recusing himself from cases involving the tech giant — but some D.C. insiders are grumbling the Massachusetts Democrat has a record of using similar tactics herself.

The spat centers on Jonathan Kanter, the Biden-appointed and Warren-backed head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, who is leading the feds’ lawsuit against Google that argues the company has built “unlawful monopolies”Online search and advertising. 

Shortly after the Senate confirmed Kanter as antitrust chief in November, Google asked the Justice Department to consider recusing him from investigations of the search giant, arguing that his previous for work for rivals like Microsoft and Yelp — both of which have pushed antitrust cases against Google — raises “serious concerns about his ability to be impartial.” 

Warren and fellow progressive, Rep. Pramila Japal (D-Wash.), stood by the antitrust chief, in a letter of theirs, accusing Google, of trying to “bully Mr. Kanter into recusal.”

“It is unfair and inappropriate of your company to question his impartiality,”The lawmakers wrote a letter to Sundar Pichai, Google CEO. “Google should focus on complying with antitrust law rather than attempting to rig the system with these unseemly tactics.” 

But some insiders say that Warren’s defense of Kanter doesn’t square with her own record. 

Jonathan Kanter is leading the Feds’ lawsuit against Google arguing that the company has built “unlawful monopolies”Getty Images

In 2017, Warren called on Kanter’s Trump-appointed predecessor, Makan Delrahim, to recuse himself from a potential antitrust investigation of AT&T and Time Warner’s proposed merger because of previous statements he’d made about the deal. 

“Prior to taking office, you appeared to have reached and publicly stated a conclusion about the matter,”Warren wrote that letter to Delrahim. “Your refusal to recuse yourself will undermine public confidence in the Division’s ability to reach an unbiased final decision in the matter.” 

As evidence, Warren pointed to a 2016 interview with a affiliate in which Delrahim said that he didn’t see the proposed AT&T and Time Warner merger “as a major antitrust problem.”

Google wants Jonathan Kanter to recuse himself from the Justice Department’s suit against the company.SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

The Justice Department refused Warren’s demand to recuse Delrahim and later pursued an unsuccessful suit to block the deal, which ultimately closed in 2018. 

In 2020, however, Delrahim did bow out of the agency’s investigation into Google based on past work he had done for the company. 

Warren’s office did not respond to a request for comment. The DOJ declined to comment.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) co-authored Warren’s letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai.Getty Images

Google, for its part, stated in a statement to The Post: “Kanter’s past statements and work representing competitors who have advocated for the cases brought by the Department raise serious concerns about his ability to be impartial.”

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