Sen. Warren, Rep. Jayapal accuse Google of trying to 'bully' DOJ antitrust chief into recusal

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Mass., and fellow progressive Democrat Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Wash., say Google is attempting to "bully" the Department of Justice's new antitrust chief into recusing himself from agency matters regarding the company.

In a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, the lawmakers called on the tech giant to stop their "ongoing attempts to strip Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of his authority," after Google requested upon his recent Senate confirmation that the DOJ "examine whether" Kanter should be recused from government actions against Google given his prior work and as an established Google critic.

Antitrust attorney Jonathan Kanter testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee October 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. Kanter was later confirmed as assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images / Getty Images)

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Google argued that "Kantor's prior representations, actions, and statements raise concerns that having him supervise the Department's actions involving Google may not satisfy the requirement that those actions be fair and impartial." 

A Google spokesperson said in a statement at the time, "Mr. 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." 

Warren and Jayapal argued in their letter to Google that federal ethics laws do not require Kanter to recuse himself in matters related to the company, and that "it is unfair and inappropriate of your company to question his impartiality."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) holds a news conference with Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) at the U.S. Capitol on March 01, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images / Getty Images)

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Google declined to comment on the lawmakers' letter.

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The DOJ's antitrust division filed a lawsuit against Google in Oct. 2020, alleging the company uses exclusionary agreements and other tactics to maintain a monopoly for its search engine, which the company denies.

Google is not the first big tech titan to question the impartiality of regulators picked by President Biden, who has stacked his administration with tech foes.

Lina Khan, commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission for U.S. President Joe Biden, speaks during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, April 21, 2021.  (Saul Loeb/AFP/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

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In June, Amazon filed a petition arguing that Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Lina Khan should have nothing to do with any antitrust investigations against the company, arguing that she could not be impartial given her years of accusing the company of alleged violations.

Facebook followed suit the next month, also requesting that Khan recuse herself from the government's investigations or lawsuits against the company. In addition to Amazon and Facebook, Khan has long been a persistent critic of Google, Apple, and Microsoft.

FOX Business' Megan Henney contributed to this article.

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