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Elon Musk meets with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Hakeem Jeffries

By Melanie Zanona, Manu Raju and Kevin Liptak, CNN

Twitter and Tesla CEO Elon Musk met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries at the US Capitol in Washington on Thursday evening.

McCarthy, leaving the meeting with Musk in his office, declined to comment other than to say: “He came for my birthday.” The California Republican turned 58 on Thursday.

After the meeting, Musk wrote on Twitter that he met with McCarthy and Jeffries “to discuss ensuring that this platform is fair to both parties.”

According to a source familiar with the matter, Jeffries met with McCarthy in part to receive a law enforcement briefing regarding Capitol Hill preparations in case there are protests following the expected release of video Friday from the arrest of Tyre Nichols, who died earlier this month following a traffic stop.

Musk later arrived for a separate meeting with McCarthy — and Jeffries had a brief interaction with the billionaire businessman. The subject of Twitter came up but the source did not provide details.

Jeffries left soon after, and McCarthy stayed with Musk until the speaker left for floor votes, the source said.

On Friday, a White House spokesman told reporters that Musk also met in Washington with two senior White House officials to discuss electric vehicles. Musk met with John Podesta, a senior adviser focused on climate, and Mitch Landrieu, who oversees implementation of the bipartisan infrastructure law.

The group discussed “shared goals around electrification and how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act can advance electric vehicle production and charging as well as the broader cause of electrification,” the spokesman said.

A person familiar with the matter said Musk’s meeting with senior administration officials occurred at Tesla’s Washington offices.

The meeting between Musk and congressional leaders comes as the House Oversight Committee is planning to hold a hearing next month focused on Twitter and how it handled a story about Hunter Biden’s laptop. The House GOP conference members have promised rigorous oversight into big tech and social media platforms, which they have accused of conservative censorship.

The panel invited three former Twitter employees to testify, and is in active discussions with the trio about appearing in front of the committee, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter. The committee is looking at February 8 as a potential target date for the hearing, the sources said.

The manner in which Twitter handled the Hunter Biden laptop story has been the subject of several so-called Twitter Files reports, corporate communications that have been disseminated to journalists hand-picked by Musk and his team at Twitter. The Twitter Files have shown the company’s moderation team agonized over how to handle initial stories about the saga. Although early news reports were blocked or downplayed, the company quickly reversed course and allowed them to be posted and discussed on the platform.

Musk has developed a reputation as a polarizing figure in the tech industry and for his political views. He has frequently weighed in publicly on US policy and the political landscape in recent months. Musk has said that he has voted for Democrats and Republicans in the past but has recently favored conservatives and says he identifies as Republican.

The meeting comes amid a political power shift in Washington after Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in January and elected McCarthy as speaker.

This story and headline have been updated with additional developments.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Alayna Treene, Clare Foran, Daniella Diaz and Donie O’Sullivan contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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