Speaker Kevin McCarthy reiterated Tuesday that he will block Democratic Representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell of California from serving on the House committee overseeing national intelligence. Place”.
In the previous Congress, Democrats removed Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona from their committee assignments for inflammatory comments that they said incited potential violence against colleagues.
Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries wrote to McCarthy over the weekend asking that Schiff and Swalwell be reappointed to the House’s Permanent Intelligence Selection Committee, a prestigious panel with access to sensitive, classified information. There is no “precedent or justification” for rejecting them, Jeffries said.
Unlike most committees, appointments to the intelligence panel are the prerogative of the speaker, with input from the minority leader.
McCarthy said he would submit his response later Tuesday, but “let me be very clear, this is not comparable to what the Democrats did. Those members will have other committees, but the intel committee is different. The Intelligence Committee’s responsibility is the national security of America.”
“Hakeem Jeffries has 200 other people who can serve on that committee,” he added.
McCarthy was critical of Schiff’s actions as chairman of the panel during Donald Trump’s first impeachment inquiry, claiming that he used his position to “lie over and over again to the American public”. He also claimed that Swalwell couldn’t get a security clearance in the private sector, so “we’re not going to give him America’s secrets.”
McCarthy sought to have Swalwell removed from the intelligence panel in March 2021 based on his contact with a suspected Chinese spy. His resolution against Swalwell, which was voted down in the Democrat-led House, cited information that suspected spy, Christine Fang, came into contact with Swalwell’s campaign when he first ran for Congress in 2012 and participated in fundraising for his 2014 campaign.
Federal investigators alerted Swalwell to their concerns and informed Congress about Fang in 2015, after which Swalwell says he cut off contact with her.
Schiff told colleagues in 2021 that Republican leaders in 2015, including then-Speaker of the House John Boehner and then-Chairman of the Intelligence Panel, Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, had been made aware of the situation with Swalwell and had “not objected against his continued service” to the Intelligence Committee.
McCarthy insisted he put national security above partisan politics.
“We are going to bring the Intelligence Committee back to what it should have been. We will no longer miss what happened in Afghanistan. We will no longer miss what is happening in China, Russia, Iran and others. That’s what this country thinks should happen,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy has also vowed to remove Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota from the foreign affairs committee. In a joint statement, the three Democrats targeted for removal from committees said “it is disappointing but not surprising that Kevin McCarthy has capitulated to the right wing of his caucus, undermining the integrity of Congress while harming our national security.”
They called their move part of an agreement McCarthy made with GOP hardliners to become a speaker “that required political revenge on the three of us.”