Kevin McCarthy says he will block Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from Intel panel

Speaker Kevin McCarthy reiterated Tuesday that he will bar Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell of California from serving on the House committee that oversees national intelligence, saying the decision was not based on political vendetta but because “integrity matters.” , and have failed in that place.”

In the previous Congress, Democrats expelled Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona from their committee assignments for inflammatory comments they said incited potential violence against colleagues.

Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, in a letter sent to McCarthy over the weekend, called for Schiff and Swalwell to be re-elected to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, a prestigious panel with access to confidential information and classified. There is “no precedent or justification” for rejecting them, Jeffries said.

Unlike most committees, appointments to the Intelligence panel are the speaker’s prerogative, with input from the minority leader.

McCarthy said he would submit his response later on Tuesday, but “let me be very clear, this is not similar to what the Democrats did. Those members will have other committees, but the Intel Committee is different. The Intel committee’s responsibility is the national security of the United States.”

“Hakeem Jeffries has another 200 people who can serve on that committee,” he added.

McCarthy criticized Schiff’s actions as chair of the panel during the first impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, saying he used his position to “lie to the American public over and over again.” He also claimed that Swalwell was unable to obtain security clearance in the private sector, so “we will not provide the secrets to the United States.”

McCarthy attempted to remove Swalwell from the intelligence panel in March 2021 based on his contact with a suspected Chinese spy. His ruling against Swalwell, which was defeated in the Democratic-led House, cited information that the alleged spy, Christine Fang, came into contact with Swalwell’s campaign when he first ran for Congress in 2012 and participated in the fundraiser for his 2014 campaign.

Federal investigators alerted Swalwell to their concerns and briefed Congress on Fang in 2015, at which point Swalwell says he cut off contact with her.

Schiff told colleagues in 2021 that Republican leaders in 2015, including then-House Speaker John Boehner and then-chairman of the intelligence panel, Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, were briefed on the situation with Swalwell and ” they did not express opposition to his continued service. on the intelligence committee.

McCarthy insisted that he was putting national security before partisan politics.

“We are going to get the Intel Committee back to what it was supposed to be. We will no longer miss what happened in Afghanistan. We will no longer miss what is happening in China, Russia, Iran and others. That is what this country believes should happen,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy also vowed to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from the Foreign Affairs Committee. In a joint statement, the three Democrats facing removal from the caucuses said “it is disappointing but not surprising that Kevin McCarthy has capitulated to the right wing of his caucus, undermining the integrity of Congress and damaging our national security in the process.” “.

They called his removal part of a deal McCarthy made with hardline Republicans to become a speaker “that required political vendetta against the three of us.”

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