House Speaker Kevin McCarthy put a PBS reporter in her place after she challenged him over his decision to remove Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, both from California, from the Intelligence Committee. Specifically, reporter Lisa Desjardins asked the California Republican how he justified removing Schiff and Swalwell while assigning controversial Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), who lied several times about his job record during the campaign, to a committee.
“You said that lying to us is something that means you should be removed from the Intel Committee. But why is it not a factor [for Santos]?” Desjardins asked. Well, let me be very-” McCarthy began before she cut him off. “This is a man who should not be on committees,” Desjardins interjected.
“Let me be very clear and respectful to you,” McCarthy pushed back. “You ask 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, okay? With all respect, thank you. No, no. Let’s answer her question.”
“You just raised the question. I will be very clear with you. The Intel Committee is different, well, you know why? Because what happens in the Intel Committee, you don’t know. What happens in the Intel committee, other secrets are going on the world, other members of Congress don’t know,” McCarthy said.
The speaker noted further that Schiff repeatedly pushed false claims that former President Donald Trump colluded with Russia to ‘steal’ the 2016 election from Hillary Clinton, even claiming to have evidence that did not exist.
As chair of the Intelligence Committee, McCarthy told reporters Schiff used “his power as a chairman and lied to the American public. Even the inspector general said it. When Devin Nunes put out a memo, [Schiff] said it was false” when it wasn’t.
“When we had a laptop, he used it before an election to [play] politics and say that it was false and said it was the Russians when he knew different, when he knew the Intel … He used his position as chairman, knowing he has information the rest of America does not, and lied to the American public,” McCarthy continued.
He added that Schiff will serve on other committees and that Santos is not on the Intelligence panel.
As for Swalwell, McCarthy noted that his past scandal, in which he compromised himself in a close relationship with a Chinese spy, made him ineligible to serve on such a sensitive committing. “You have not had the briefing that I had,” McCarthy told reporters.
“I had the briefing, and Nancy Pelosi had the briefing from the FBI. The FBI never came before this Congress to tell the leadership of this Congress that Eric Swalwell had a problem with the Chinese spy until he served on Intel,” McCarthy continued.
“So it wasn’t just us who were concerned about it, the FBI was concerned about putting a member of Congress on the Intel committee that has the rights to see things that others don’t, because of his knowledge and relationship with a Chinese spy,” he said.
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