McCarthy officially denies Schiff and Swalwell seats on House Intelligence Committee


House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday officially denied Democratic Representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell seats on the House Intelligence Committee.

“I appreciate the loyalty you have to your fellow Democrats, and I acknowledge your efforts to have two members of Congress reinstated on the House Standing Select Committee on Intelligence,” McCarthy wrote in a letter to the Minority Leader. of the House, Hakeem Jeffries, that he posted on Twitter Tuesday evening.

“But I can’t put partisan loyalty ahead of national security, and I can’t just recognize years of service as the sole criteria for membership on this critical committee. Integrity matters more.

McCarthy cited a “new normal” from Democrats to explain why he would strip Schiff and Swalwell, both of California, of their committee assignments, after the Democratic-led House in 2021 removed GOP representatives. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona from their committees for rhetoric and inflammatory messages.

In the letter, McCarthy added that “I believe that the misuse of this panel during the 116th and 117th Congress has seriously compromised its primary national security and oversight missions – ultimately leaving our country less secure,” and that he wants the panel to be one of “genuine honesty and credibility that earns back the trust of the American people.”

After the speaker re-committed earlier Tuesday to expelling him from the intelligence committee, Swalwell called it “political revenge”.

“It’s political revenge, it’s too bad because this committee has always been a bipartisan committee, and it’s taking one of the most valuable pieces of glassware from the congressional cabinet and smashing it, and the damage is going to be irreparable,” Swalwell said, adding that “if a Democrat advocated violence against another member of Congress, I would support getting rid of them.”

Schiff told reporters that “if McCarthy thinks this is going to stop me from vigorously pushing back against his efforts to tear down these institutions, he’s going to find out how wrong he is.”

“I think it’s a terrible decision on his part and again to show McCarthy that he’s only responding to the most extreme elements of this conference,” he added.

Schiff will serve on the Judiciary Committee, according to a Democratic aide, while Swalwell told CNN he will serve on the Justice and Homeland Security panels.

Two House Republicans have publicly denounced McCarthy’s decision to eject Democrats from the intelligence panel. Swing District Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska called the committee members’ kicks “corrosive,” while Rep. Victoria Spartz of Indiana said in a statement that she opposes the push to eliminate the Democrats.

“I appreciate these Republican members speaking out against what McCarthy is doing,” Schiff later told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on “AC360.”

“I think it shows that there are Republicans who understand that it’s very poorly considered. It’s just going to hurt the institution, it’s not warranted,” he added. “These efforts are not bipartisan at all, indeed the opposition is bipartisan.

McCarthy also announced on Tuesday the list of GOP members he is appointing to serve on the select subcommittee on federal militarization, with Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan to serve as its chair.

GOP representatives Dan Bishop of North Carolina and Chip Roy of Texas, who were among the early resisters against McCarthy in the presidential race, also won seats on the panel. Democrats will also have the ability to nominate members.

The speaker also announced appointments to the select subcommittee on the coronavirus pandemic, with Greene among the chosen members.

McCarthy expanded both select committees, naming more people to the slates than originally planned due to “overflowing interest” from members, according to a source familiar with the GOP. House Republicans will have to move a floor resolution to formally change the ratios, the source added, but doesn’t anticipate that will be a problem.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

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