McCarthy kicks Schiff and Swalwell off intelligence committee

McCarthy kicks Schiff and Swalwell off intelligence committee
McCarthy kicks Schiff and Swalwell off intelligence committee

WASHINGTON — Chairman Kevin McCarthy unilaterally exiled Representatives Adam B. Schiff and Eric Swalwell from the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, fulfilling a long-standing threat to evict Democrats from California in his first major act of partisan retaliation since that he took the majority.

The move was eagerly awaited after then-majority Democrats voted in 2021 to expel two Republicans, Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona, from congressional committees for internet publications that advocated violence. against their political enemies. It was also a reward for then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to ban Republicans who helped former President Donald J. Trump spread the campaign lies that fueled the Jan. 6, 2021, attack. against the Capitol to sit on the special committee investigating the riot.

Now in control, Mr. McCarthy has sought to punish Mr. Schiff and Mr. Swalwell, two favorite Republican stooges who played a key role in Mr. Trump’s two impeachments, although he denied that his decision was a retaliatory measure. Instead, he argued that the two men had exhibited behavior unbecoming of the committee overseeing the country’s intelligence services.

In a letter outlining his decision to Hakeem Jeffries, the House Minority Leader, Mr McCarthy denounced what he described as the “misuse” of the intelligence panel over the past four years, arguing that he had “seriously undermined his primary national security and surveillance”. missions – ultimately leaving our nation less secure. He called the dismissals of Mr. Schiff and Mr. Swalwell necessary “to maintain a standard worthy of the responsibilities of this committee”.

Mr McCarthy said Mr Schiff “openly lied to the American people” when he chaired the intelligence panel during Mr Trump’s presidency. In September 2019, Mr. Schiff was excoriated by Republicans for dramatically paraphrasing the content of a phone call in which Mr. Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joseph R. Biden. Jr. and his son, and for implying, incorrectly, that his committee had no contact with a whistleblower raising concerns about their conversation.

A Divided Congress

The 118th Congress is underway, with Republicans controlling the House and Democrats the Senate.

Earlier, in March 2019‌, ‌Republicans on the committee had demanded that Mr. Schiff stand down for saying he had seen “more than circumstantial evidence” of collusion between Mr. Trump and the Russians in 2017. That claim had been questioned. by the findings of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel who had looked into the matter, which Attorney General ‌William P. Barr‌ had summarized in a letter to certain members of Congress. Republicans accused Mr. Schiff of compromising the integrity of the panel by knowingly promoting false information.

Republicans have railed against Mr. Swalwell, who served as director of Mr. Trump’s second impeachment trial, citing an Axios report that said Mr. Swalwell was targeted by a suspected Chinese spy as part of a influence campaign in 2014, before serving. on the information panel. The report says that around 2015, federal investigators alerted Mr Swalwell to their concerns and he “cut all ties”.

Because the Intelligence Committee is a ‘select’ committee, the president has the power to dictate who can serve, just as Ms Pelosi was able to block Republicans named by Mr McCarthy from the select committee investigating the January 6 attack. .

Removal of members from other committees requires a vote on the floor of the House. Democrats staged such a vote in February 2021 to remove Ms Greene from the education and budget committees, after social media posts surfaced ahead of her election in which she endorsed the executions of Democrats and spread criticism. sectarian conspiracy theories. They staged another vote months later to expel Mr. Gosar from its committees after releasing an animated video showing him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York.

In both cases, some Republicans joined Democrats in voting to remove their colleagues from congressional panels.

Mr. McCarthy fired Ms. Greene and Mr. Gosar to committees earlier this month and promoted Ms. Greene to serve on two high-level panels, Oversight and Homeland Security. Mr. Gosar also won a seat on oversight.

McCarthy also threatened to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, from congressional committees for criticizing Israel, which Republicans and some Democrats have condemned as anti-Semitic. Ms Omar apologized in 2019 for saying support for Israel in Washington was “all about the Benjamins baby”, a comment members of both parties denounced as a reference to an anti-Semitic trope. She was again criticized in 2021 when she made statements that appeared to compare Israel’s human rights abuses to acts committed by Hamas and the Taliban, and later said she had no wanted to assimilate them.

It was unclear whether Mr McCarthy, who holds a slim majority, had the votes to oust Ms Omar.

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. McCarthy expels Schiff Swalwell committee intelligence

. McCarthy kicks Schiff Swalwell intelligence committee

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