House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said the refusal of California Democrats Adam Schiff and Eric Svalella to serve on the intelligence committee is a matter of protecting national security.
House Democrats say it's revenge, plain and simple, for removing Representatives Marjorie Taylor Green (D-GA) and Paul Gosar (D-Arizona) from committee seats in the last Congress when Democrats were in office and Nancy Pelosi was president; .
In February 2021, House Democrats removed Green from his committee duties following inflammatory and violent statements prior to his election to Congress. In 2021, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Gosar and remove him from his committee duties after he posted an anime video on social media that allegedly killed Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacked President Joe Biden.
First, the dispute between Schiff and Swallel is a particularly bitter version of the partisan animosity that routinely spills over into Washington politics these days. On the other hand, this is a vivid example of the clash of realities, which has deepened the gap between Democrats and Republicans.
Take Schiff, for example, who was scorned by many on the right for his hyperpartisan campaign to oust former President Donald Trump, as well as allegations that he continually leaked information from classified reports he received as US intelligence chairman. Room. committee, while Democrats took over the House of Representatives.
"Adam Schiff has blatantly lied to the American public," McCarthy said at his first press conference last month. "He told you he had proof. … He had been accusing the United States for four years and he knew it was a lie."
“There has been a role of the Intelligence Committee in this matter. No,” McCarthy continued. ".
The case against Schiff involves his claim, made in March 2019 on CBS' Face the Nation Sunday, that the emails contained "direct evidence" of collusion between Donald Trump's son Don Jr. and Russian agents.
But when Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report was released two months later, he noted that "conspiracy is not a specific crime or theory of liability in the United States Code and it is not a technical term in federal criminal law." Mueller's report states that "the investigation did not find that members of the Trump campaign colluded or coordinated with the Russian government to interfere in the election."
In a May 29 public statement, Mueller said that "we have concluded that there is not enough evidence to incriminate a larger conspiracy."
On this basis, McCarthy alleged that Schiff deliberately lied about evidence that did not exist. Schiff, a former federal prosecutor, still says his opinion on the Mueller report is justified, insisting that Mueller "did not draw any conclusions" that Trump and his company were colluding with the Russians.
“What he showed in his report, which we discovered during our investigation, is that Donald Trump's campaign manager was sharing internal campaign polling data and strategies for key battleground states with a US operative. intelligence at a time when the same Russian intelligence unit helped Trump campaign with both hacking and social media operation to elect Donald Trump,” Schiff told CNN late last month. "For most Americans, it's a conspiracy."
Schiff was also accused of lying when he denied knowing the identity of the whistleblower who initiated the first impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
The Washington Post has determined that, yes, he did seek the committee's advice before becoming a whistleblower," Schiff told CNN. "When I was asked this question, I assumed they meant if we brought in a whistleblower. more specific in my answer".
“But again, let's be clear about what's really going on here. McCarthy needs… the voice of Marjorie Taylor Green. You need the voice of Paul Gosar. He wants revenge for his removal from the commission.
As for Swalwell, McCarthy says he was threatened by a Chinese spy Swalwell met when he was on the Dublin, Calif., city council and ran for Congress a decade ago.
The woman in question was identified as Christine Fang in a December 2020 complaint by Axios , which described her as a "suspected Chinese intelligence operative" who was "prosecuting emerging local politicians in the Bay Area and across the country who had a potential . "nationalize. internship" between 2011 and 2015, when he left the country.
Fang raised money for Swallel's 2014 reelection campaign and, according to Axios , was involved in "romantic or sexual liaisons with at least two Midwestern mayors," but there was no evidence that Swallel was one of her lovers.
Swalwell says that when the FBI learned that Fang might be working on behalf of Chinese intelligence, they cut ties with him and cooperated fully with him.
"Don't take my word for it. Take the FBI's word for it," Sualel also told CNN. "They've come out three times and said two things. all I've done is help them and besides, I've never been under suspicion." do something wrong."
McCarthy has hinted that there is more to the story than he can publicly reveal.
"Had I gotten the report I got from the FBI, I wouldn't have awarded Swalel any commission," he said during his news conference. “You will tell me there are 200 other Democrats who failed to get this seat but walked out. They found out he was out when they went to appoint him to the exploratory committee. And then the FBI came and told management. "You have a problem?"
"There's nothing there," Swalwell insisted to CNN. “I did what every American should do. It's Kevin McCarthy, a Bakersfield student, using his powers for political abuse."
In McCarthy's letter recommending that Schiff and Swalwell return to the Intelligence Committee, chaired by Schiff, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) argued that their cases were completely different from Green's and Gosar's. According to Jeffries, several House Republicans were relieved of their committee duties "after a bipartisan vote in the House found them incapable of … directly inciting violence against their colleagues."
“This does not serve as a precedent or justification for the removal of rappers Schiff and Swall, as they have never displayed violent thoughts or behavior,” Jeffries continued.
McCarthy remained unmoved, responding to Jeffries. "I appreciate your loyalty to my fellow Democrats…but I can't put partisan loyalty before national security."
"I believe that [the Intelligence Committee's] abuses during the 116th and 117th Congresses seriously undermined its primary mission of oversight and national security, ultimately making our country less secure."
Both Schiff and Swalwell appear to have come to terms with their exile. Swalwell vows "not to back down" and says McCarthy's "false statements" have led to a steady stream of death threats.
“We heard it on the answering machine. We see it in and. in letters or shouting it at airports or public places,” Swallel said, McCarthy said. “You must condemn the violence and stop the spread of the slander. Otherwise, you target all of us, our families. And there are real consequences, as we just saw, sadly, with spokesperson Pelosi's husband."
Schiff, meanwhile, has announced that he will seek the Senate seat currently held by Dianne Feinstein, who turns 90 in June and is expected to retire.
Schiff said his decision to run had nothing to do with his issue with McCarthy.
"Although I think Kevin McCarthy gave me another good reason Californians voted for me, which is that they could nominate Adam Schiff a senator from Kevin McCarthy's home state."