Two top Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee want all commissioners on the Federal Communications Commission, including Chairman Ajit Pai, to appear before the panel and condemn President Trump's challenges to news networks' broadcast licenses.
On Thursday, House Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, D-N.J., and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Ranking Member Mike Doyle, D-Penn., called on all five commissioners to testify in public and under oath about Trump's recent tweets about broadcast licenses.
Their request comes a day after the president questioned whether NBC and other networks that report news Trump considers to be incorrect or "fake" should have their broadcast licenses revoked.
"With all the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!" Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.
"Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!" he said in a second tweet Wednesday night.
Pallone and Doyle said the president's tweets "may already be chilling free-speech across the country."
"That is why we and others have called on the FCC chairman to immediately condemn this intimidation and promise to the American public that he will not follow through on the directions he has received from the president," the two Democratic lawmakers said. "Despite our calls, the chairman has refused to say if he agrees with the president."
Pallone and Doyle said they want the commissioners to appear before the Energy and Commerce Committee to vow not to threaten network news outlets or broadcast licenses because of what they report.
"Every day that goes by without comment from the FCC chairman is a continued threat to the First Amendment," they said.
An aide with the Energy and Commerce Committee told the Washington Examiner the panel has been working with the FCC over the last several weeks to determine the availibility of commissioners to attend a routine oversight hearing. On Thursday, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., chairman of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, invited the five commissioners to testify before the subcommittee Oct. 25.
The FCC did not return a request for comment.