House Democrats are pushing House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to follow through with one of his pledges to give the boot to a pair of members from the House Intelligence Committee.
Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) officially submitted his recommendation of “eminently qualified” Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) to continue working with the panel as part of a Saturday-dated letter to the speaker. The letter is directly addressed to McCarthy, who previously promised retribution as he accused house Democrats of attempting to create a “new Standard” once GOP members were taken off their committee assignments in the last session of Congress.
“It is my understanding that you intend to break with the longstanding House tradition of deference to the minority party Intelligence Committee recommendations and deny seats to Ranking Member Schiff and Representative Swalwell,” explained Jeffries in a missive which ended up being made public by Punchbowl News. “The denial of seats to duly elected Members of the House Democratic Caucus runs counter to the serious and sober mission of the Intelligence Committee.”
McCarthy managed to secure the speakers gavel while making promises to give both Schiff and Swalwell the boot from their seats within the Intelligence Committee — a plan that he has the power to carry out unilaterally. McCarthy has also spoken about removing Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from her role on the Foreign Affairs Committee, but that would require a vote on the House floor to carry out the task. Back in November, McCarhy pegged Schiff for lying to the people of America “time and again” and claimed that Swalwell would not be able to pass the checks for security clearance in the public sector, alluding to the intimate ties of Swalwell to a person alleged to be a spy for China a few years ago.
Historically thought to be entirely apolitical, the House Intelligence Committee ended up being the focal point for partisan fighting throughout the presidency of former President Donald Trump with investigations into the 2016 election and Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. After being seated as chairman in 2019, Schiff ended up all over the headlines by making the claim that there was “ample” evidence of collusion with Russia.
In reaction to the threat from McCarthy to remove him from his role, Schiff stated to CNN this past November that “McCarthy’s problem is not with what I have said about Russia” but rather McCarthy’s attempts to secure enough votes to be the speaker. “So, he will misrepresent my record,” explained Schiff. Swalwell made the argument that the actions from McCarthy seemed to just be “political vengeance” and tried to defend himself over the Chinese spy scandal by pointing to a number of FBI officials crying to the media that he went along with all investigations and was not suspected of any wrongdoing.