House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) confirmed on Monday that he would strip several high-profile Democrats of their highly coveted committee assignments as Republicans take control of the House.
McCarthy told the Associated Press that Representatives Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) will be booted off their assignments: Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee, Schiff and Swalwell from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI).
During a House Democrat press briefing on Tuesday, Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) responded to the report, saying that the Democrat caucus will still put forward its nominees for committee assignments to the Speaker, and Schiff for HPSCI will be included on that list.
“They will be put forward. What the Speaker does beyond that is something that the leadership team and the Steering Policy Committee will have to handle,” Aguilar said.
Rep. Ted Lieu blasted the GOP for focusing on “revenge” and “irrelevant investigations” instead of working with Democrats, which he said does not “help the American family.”
“We urge that he doesn’t go down these stupid, dark paths and work with Democrats,” Lieu said.
“Looks like Kevin McCarthy conceded all the power of his office to the crazies to finally get their votes,” Schiff wrote in a resentful tweet on Friday. “He had to give away the house to do it, and that was a sacrifice he was willing to make — for the title. He will be a speaker in name only.”
The Speaker first hinted that he would remove Swalwell and Schiff from their committee assignments in a Fox News interview last November, shortly after Republicans won control of the House.
“Eric Swalwell cannot get a security clearance in the public sector. Why would we ever give him a security clearance in the secrets to America? So, I will not allow him to be on Intel,” McCarthy said at the time. “You have Adam Schiff, who had lied to the American public time and again. We will not allow him to be on the Intel Committee either.”
Republicans have complained about Swalwell’s position on the Intel Committee ever since his alleged affair with a suspected Chinese spy was made public in 2020. U.S. Intel officials said at the time that Swalwell’s relations with the spy was part of an extensive political intelligence operation run by China between 2011 and 2015.
GOP leaders have long called for Omar’s removal from Foreign Affairs Committee, due to her alleged habit of making antisemitic remarks.
“She’s literally getting intelligence briefings on foreign policy in the United States, including our relationship with Israel,” said Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) in a March 2019 interview with Fox News. “Why would you have her on a committee that is that important, that sensitive to our foreign policy if she has those kinds of antisemitic beliefs?” he asked at the time. “She ought to be removed immediately from the Foreign Affairs Committee.”
McCarthy’s move is seen as retaliation for the removal of two Republicans from their committee assignments in the last Congress, however Swalwell was already due to be rotated off of the Intel committee, and Omar’s position on the Foreign Affairs Committee would have likely been rejected by the GOP majority, as it was subject to a House vote.
But the removal of former Intelligence Committee Chairman Schiff from the Intelligence Committee is a major development. Schiff has been on the Committee since 2008, and was reappointed as a permanent member in January 2009.
HPSCI oversees America’s intelligence activities in 17 departments, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), Department of State, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Security Agency (NSA).
Schiff used his position on the Intel Committee to help former President Barack Obama weather several massive scandals—including the Fast and Furious gunwalking racket, and the Benghazi debacle—and ruthlessly target former President Trump for throughout his term, leading to two impeachment trials.
The congressman (nicknamed “Shifty Schiff”) relentlessly dogged Trump for four years, starting with the the Russia hoax, and culminating in the Democrats’ nonsensical Ukraine impeachment trial, which many conservatives said was merely a cover-up operation to obfuscate the Biden family’s malfeasance in Ukraine, as well as their other corrupt overseas business endeavors.
Schiff was also a member of the partisan Select Jan. 6 Committee, which was denounced by Republicans as a politically motivated sham.
In a Twitter Files document dump last week, it was revealed that Schiff in Nov. of 2020 tried to get New York Post journalist Paul Sperry suspended from Twitter and to have “any and all content” related to House Intelligence Committee staffers removed from the site.
In January of 2020, Sperry wrote an article for RealClearInvestigations about the purported “whistleblower” behind former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment, identifying him as then-CIA analyst Eric Ciaramella.
The powerful lawmaker’s request was too much for even the woke employees at Twitter. “No, this isn’t feasible/we don’t do that,” an employee wrote in response.
Schiff’s removal from HPSCI should curtail the congressman’s ability to target the Democrats’ political enemies going forward. He is now reportedly considering a run for the Senate seat currently held by 89-year old Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) was censured and stripped of his committee assignments in November of 2021, after he retweeted an anime video depicting himself, Rep. Marjory Taylor Green (R-Ga.) and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) as superheroes slaying Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Joe Biden in battle.
After Speaker Pelosi stripped Rep. Greene of all her committees in February of 2021 (for “incendiary” speech), McCarthy vowed retribution whenever the GOP was next in the majority.
“If this is the new standard, I look forward to continuing out the standard,” McCarthy said in a floor speech at the time.