House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Thursday defended his decision to keep California Democrats Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff off the House Intelligence Committee – arguing that Schiff “openly lied” about the Russian election interference and a disturbing briefing he received from the FBI on Swalwell.
“If you got the briefing I got from the FBI, you wouldn’t have Swalwell on any committee,” McCarthy said in the press conference after one reporter questioned MCarthy’s commitment to allowing Democrats to pick their own committee membership.
“And you’re going to tell me other Democrats couldn’t fill that slot? He cannot get a security clearance in the private sector,” McCarthy said. “So would you like to give him a government clearance?”
McCarthy noted that in the last Congress, which was controlled by Democrats, leadership kept Swalwell in the committee even after he was red flagged by the FBI.
“You’re going to tell me there are 200 other Democrats that couldn’t fill that slot, but they kept him on it? The only way that they even knew it came forward is when they put to nominate him to the Intel committee. And then the FBI came and told the leadership that he’s got a problem, and they kept him on. That jeopardized all of us,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy said Schiff was another exception to his general policy of allowing Democrats to decide which members of their party sit on certain committees.
“Adam Schiff openly lied to the American public. He told you he had proof. He told you he didn’t know the whistle blower,” McCarthy said of the controversies surrounding Schiff during the impeachment of former President Trump.
“He put America for four years through an impeachment that he knew was a lie.” At the same time, we had Ukraine, the same time we had Afghanistan collapse. Was that the role of the Intel committee? No,” McCarhty said.
“So what I am doing with the Intel committee, bringing it back to the jurisdiction is supposed to do forward looking to keep this country safe, keep the politics out of it,” he added.
“So, yes, I’m doing exactly what we’re supposed to do.”