Reporter Gets Into Tense Exchange With McCarthy After Speaker Removed Schiff From Intel Committee

[Screenshot Twitter Greg Price]

Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
Font Size:

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy got into a tense exchange Tuesday night with a reporter over his decision to kick California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff off committees.

McCarthy removed Schiff and California Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell from the Intelligence Committee and Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee.

McCarthy defended his decision to strip Schiff and Swalwell from the intelligence panel, telling a press gaggle that Swalwell was compromised by a Chinese spy while Schiff has lied to the people. A reporter then asked McCarthy why he allowed New York Republican Rep. George Santos, who lied about his background, to receive committee assignments.

A reporter asked why Santos’ lies were “not a factor.”

“He got elected by his district,” McCarthy said. (RELATED: McCarthy Appoints Mixed Bag Of Republicans For House Rules Committee)

“That’s not an answer to my question,” the reporter said.

“Let me be very clear and respectful to you: you asked me a question, when I answer it, it’s the answer to your question. You don’t get to determine whether I answer your question or not,” McCarthy snapped back.

McCarthy said the Intelligence Committee differs from other committees because the classified material is not shared with the American people or other members of Congress. When Schiff sat on the committee, he lied to the public, including calling the Hunter Biden laptop Russian disinformation, despite the fact he was privy to intelligence briefings that verified the authenticity, McCarthy said.

“And if you wanna talk about Swalwell, let’s talk about Swalwell,” McCarthy continued. “Because you have not had the briefing that I had. I had the briefing and Nancy Pelosi had the briefing from the FBI.”

“There’s 200 other Democrats that can serve [on the intelligence committee],” McCarthy continued.

“This has nothing to do with Santos. Santos is not on the Intel committee,” he added. “Those voters elected Schiff, even though he lied. Those voters elected Swalwell, even though he lied to the American public too. So you know what? I’ll respect his voters, too, and they’ll serve on committees, but they will not serve on a place that has national security [purpose], because integrity matters to me.”

McCarthy doubled down in a letter to House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, saying he will not put “partisan loyalty ahead of national security.” Swalwell has called the decision “political vengeance,” according to CNN.

Schiff took to Twitter late Tuesday night to criticize the move.

“This is petty, political payback for investigating Donald Trump. If he thinks this will stop me, he will soon find out just how wrong he is.”

Santos has lied about most of his professional and personal background. McCarthy made clear that while Santos may serve on committees he will not be permitted to serve on any top House committees.