By Juliegrace Brufke, Congressional Reporter. Media: Washington Examiner.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) rejected Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff (CA) and Eric Swalwell (CA) from sitting on the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, alleging the California Democrats pose a national security risk.
McCarthy previously vowed to boot Schiff, the former chairman of the committee, and Swalwell from the panel in addition to removing Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the House Committee on Foreign Affairs during the last Congress after Democrats removed Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA) and Paul Gosar (AZ) from their committee assignments after a string of controversies.
The California Republican cited allegations that Swalwell had a relationship with a Chinese spy in 2014 and alleged Schiff intentionally misled the American public while leading the investigations into former President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. Both lawmakers have slammed his accusations, with Swalwell noting that the FBI cleared him of any wrongdoing.
In a letter sent to Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) on Tuesday, McCarthy asserted that he is standing by his position and rejects his selections to serve on the panel.
“I appreciate the loyalty you have to your Democrat colleagues, and I acknowledge your efforts to have two Members of Congress reinstated to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence,” McCarthy wrote. “But I cannot put partisan loyalty ahead of national security, and I cannot simply recognize years of service as the sole criteria for membership on this essential committee. Integrity matters more.”
McCarthy continued, “As such, in order to maintain a standard worthy of this committee’s responsibilities, I am hereby rejecting the appointments of Representative Adam Schiff and Representative Eric Swalwell to serve on the Intelligence Committee.”
Schiff, Omar, and Swalwell said it’s “disappointing but not surprising that Kevin McCarthy has capitulated to the right wing of his caucus, undermining the integrity of the Congress, and harming our national security in the process.”
In a joint statement, the trio said McCarthy “struck a corrupt bargain in his desperate, and nearly failed, attempt to win the Speakership, a bargain that required political vengeance against the three of us. But despite these efforts, McCarthy won’t be successful. We will continue to speak out against extremism and doggedly defend our democracy.”
McCarthy dismissed Democrats’ allegations that he is taking unnecessary retaliatory action for political gain. He accused Democrats of “misuse” of the Intelligence Committee and said his actions represent a return to “genuine honesty and credibility that regains the trust of the American people.”
While McCarthy can unilaterally reject lawmakers from the select committee, the full House would have to pass a resolution to remove Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee.