(ReliableNews.org) – On January 21, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) sent a letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), requesting that he assign California Democratic Representatives Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff to the Intelligence Committee. The New York legislator said he caught wind that the new speaker planned to deny the ranking lawmakers the seats they previously held. He implored McCarthy to reconsider, indicating that Democrats had good reason to remove certain Republicans from committee assignments in the last Congress. Jeffries asked the speaker to stay with tradition, not take revenge, and heed his recommendations for Swalwell and Schiff. Two days later, McCarthy responded, denying the minority leader’s request.
I have rejected the appointments of Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell for the House Intelligence Committee.
I am committed to returning the @HouseIntel Committee to one of genuine honesty and credibility that regains the trust of the American people. pic.twitter.com/ePxlbanxta
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) January 25, 2023
The House Speaker stated in his letter that he appreciated Jeffries’ loyalty to his colleagues, but he wouldn’t seat the California Democrats on the Intel committee. McCarthy said “integrity matters,” and because that particular group deals with matters of national security, he couldn’t include the lawmakers in the fold. He claimed Swalwell and Schiff actually made the United States less safe through their actions during previous sessions of Congress and he couldn’t allow that to continue.
After McCarthy cemented his decision, he spoke to a group of reporters, going into further detail about his choice. He told reporters that Schiff lied to the citizens of America and misused his position when he was on the committee. The speaker also said he had concerns about Swalwell because of his alleged relationship with a Chinese spy, and according to him, he wasn’t the only one with apprehensions.
The House leader said he would respect the will of the people and allow the pair to serve on other committees — just not that one.
The next day, Schiff and Swalwell spoke to reporters about McCarthy’s decision, along with Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN). Schiff accused the speaker of “bow[ing]” to Right-wing extremists by removing him and Swalwell from the Intel committee, saying the move exposed McCarthy’s “weakness” in his position. He indicated the intelligence community as a whole could hold back information from those who have access to sensitive information in the House as a result of the speaker’s recent choices regarding committee assignments.
When Swalwell took the podium, he accused McCarthy of using his position for “vengeance,” explaining that former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and others had access to the same information as McCarthy, yet they allowed him to remain in the Intel group.
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