McCarthy blocks Democrats Schiff and Swalwell from intelligence committee

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Tuesday that he will bar Reps. Adam B. Schiff and Eric Swalwell from serving on the House Intelligence Committee, days after the leader of the House House minority Hakeem Jeffries (DN.Y.) will formally recommend to California Democrats that he be re-elected to the panel.

McCarthy has argued that both Schiff and Swalwell are unfit to serve on the committee, drawing on Schiff’s work conducting President Donald Trump’s first impeachment inquiry and Swalwell’s alleged ties to a Chinese intelligence agent. There has been no evidence of wrongdoing in connection with the prosecution against Swalwell.

“This is nothing political. This is not similar to what the Democrats did,” McCarthy told reporters Tuesday night. “Those members will have other committees, but the Intel committee, the Intel committee’s responsibility is national security. … I respect Hakeem Jeffries’ support of his conference and his people. But integrity matters.

Unlike most committees, where party leaders control their appointees, the speaker has the final say on who sits on the Intelligence panel.

McCarthy declined to answer multiple questions about whether he will try to prevent Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) from serving on the Foreign Affairs committee, a move that would require a majority vote in the full House.

Schiff told reporters that McCarthy was “doing the dirty water” for Trump by kicking him off the committee as retribution for his work during Trump’s first impeachment trial.

Republicans have been willing to deny Democratic positions on key panels after the Democratic-led House of Representatives in the last Congress voted to remove Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) of his committee assignments. . Greene had previously expressed his approval of violence against prominent Democrats, and Gosar had posted an animated video on social media showing the assassination of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.). In votes to remove them from their committee seats, some Republicans joined Democrats in voting yes.

Greene and Gosar were removed “after a bipartisan House vote found them unfit to serve on standing committees for directly inciting violence against their colleagues,” Jeffries wrote in his letter. “It does not serve as a precedent or justification for the removal of Representatives Schiff and Swalwell, since they have never exhibited violent thoughts or behavior.”

McCarthy, in his formal response to Jeffries on Tuesday, said he cannot “put partisan loyalty above national security” and accused Democrats of misusing the panel during the last two terms in Congress. McCarthy claimed that, under Democratic control, the panel “undermined its core oversight and national security missions and ultimately left our nation less secure.”

In a joint statement issued Tuesday after McCarthy’s announcement, Schiff, Omar and Swalwell said they find it “disappointing but not surprising” that McCarthy is trying to prevent them from being assigned to committees. They accused him of “undermining the integrity of Congress and harming our national security in the process.”

“He struck a corrupt deal in his desperate and near-failed attempt to win the Presidency, a deal that required political revenge against the three of us,” he said, referring to negotiations McCarthy engaged in with his party’s far-right flank during his long tenure. fight for the presidency.

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