House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday that he would block Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff of California and Eric Swalwell from serving on the House Committee that oversees national intelligence. He stated that the decision was not made on political payback, but rather because “integrity matters” and that they had failed in that position.
The Democrats removed Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene from Georgia and Paul Gosar from Arizona for incendiary comments that incited violence against their colleagues.
In a letter , Hakeem Jeffries asked McCarthy to re-appoint Schiff and Swalwell to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. This prestigious panel has access to classified, sensitive information. Jeffries stated that there is no precedent or reason to reject them.
The Intelligence panel is not like other committees. Its appointments are made by the speaker with input from the minority leader.
McCarthy stated that he would submit his reply Tuesday afternoon, but it is different from what the Democrats did. These members will be represented on other committees but the Intel Committee is a different entity. The Intel Committee’s responsibility is America’s national security.
He said that Hakeem Jeffries also has 200 people who could serve on the committee.
McCarthy was critical about Schiff’s conduct as chairman of the panel in the first impeachment probe of President Donald Trump. He claimed that he used his position “to lie to the American people again and again.” McCarthy also stated that Swalwell could not get security clearances in the private sector so “we aren’t going to give him the secrets to America.”
McCarthy attempted to remove Swalwell from the Intelligence Panel in March 2021, based on his contacts with a Chinese spy. The Democratic-led House voted down the resolution against Swalwell. It cited information that Swalwell had contact with Christine Fang, a suspected Chinese spy. Fang also participated in his 2014 campaign’s fundraising.
Swalwell was alerted by federal investigators to his concerns. They briefed Congress in 2015 about Fang. Swalwell claims that he then cut all contact with her.
In 2021, Schiff informed colleagues that Republican leaders, including the Speaker of the House John Boehner, and Devin Nunes (then-chairman on the Intelligence panel), were briefed about Swalwell’s situation and “expressed no objection to his continued service.”
McCarthy claimed he would put national security above partisan politics.
“We are going to restore the Intel Committee to its former glory. We won’t be able to forget what happened in Afghanistan. We will no longer miss the happenings in China, Russia and Iran. McCarthy stated that McCarthy believed this is what should happen.
McCarthy also pledged to expel Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), from the Foreign Affairs Committee. The three Democrats targeted for removal stated that it was disappointing, but not surprising, that Kevin McCarthy had given in to the right wing caucus. This has undermined the integrity of Congress and harmed our national security.
They said that their removal was part of a deal McCarthy struck with GOP hardliners to be speaker, “that required political revenge against the three of them.”