Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy kept his campaign pledge to kick former Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff from the permanent panel after the California Democrat spent years weaponizing the institution.
Last January, McCarthy promised he would strip Schiff from the premier House committee if Republicans reclaimed control of the lower chamber. Schiff’s four-year tenure as chair has been marked by remarkable abuse and grotesque politicization, with Schiff spearheading House Democrats’ impeachment efforts through the Russia hoax and allegations of Ukraine-related corruption.
California Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell was also kicked from the committee after federal law enforcement found the congressman was likely compromised by a Chinese spy.
“I have rejected the appointments of Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell for the House Intelligence Committee,” the speaker revealed on Twitter Tuesday night. “I am committed to returning the [House Intelligence Committee] to one of genuine honesty and credibility that regains the trust of the American people.”
As then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s right-hand man, Schiff has undermined the credibility of the committee since 2019. The congressman was so useful to Democrats, the former speaker chose him instead of Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler to preside over the first round of impeachment hearings against former President Donald Trump.
Schiff earned his favor with Pelosi as a star conman who was eager to leak stories about scandalous Russia collusion to allied media, which were thrilled to run claims that weren’t true. Meanwhile, the California congressman never hesitated to brag about having evidence that would land Trump in jail, which has been the No. 1 priority on the Democrats’ policy agenda since 2016.
In March 2017, Schiff said on MSNBC that “there is more than circumstantial evidence” that Trump’s campaign colluded with Moscow to capture the presidential election. Schiff would then be disappointed two years later when the Democrats’ special counsel investigation on the subject found that the White House occupant had not been a covert Russian operative.
The congressman’s reaction — to what should have been good news for anyone genuinely concerned about Russian espionage in the form of a presidential double agent — was defiance. Schiff just shook his fist on Capitol Hill and said more would come out.
“In the coming weeks and months, new information will continue to be exposed through enterprising journalism, indictments by the Special Counsel, or continued investigative work by Committee Democrats and our counterparts in the Senate,” he said in a press release. “And each time this new information becomes public, Republicans will be held accountable for abandoning a critical investigation of such vital national importance.”
Of course, Schiff knew efforts to unmask Trump as a Kremlin plant were fraudulent investigations anyway. A 2019 report from the DOJ inspector general exposed how Schiff had been lying about the Russiagate conspiracy since the inception of the hoax.
Pelosi’s Intelligence Committee chairman went on to employ the same playbook for the Democrats’ witch hunt operations surrounding allegations of an illegal quid pro quo with the Ukrainian government and the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
As House Republican minority leader last year, McCarthy had been clear he would kick a trio of Democrat lawmakers from committees if he were eventually elected speaker. The move would follow the Democratic majority taking the unprecedented step of dictating Republican appointments in the last Congress. Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was stripped of her assignments within a month of her swearing-in, and Pelosi barred Republican appointments to the Select Committee on Jan. 6. Pelosi’s refusal to greenlight McCarthy’s picks for the panel marked the first time in House history that minority appointments were barred.
McCarthy said Schiff and Swalwell were to be removed from the Intelligence Committee, and Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar would be taken off the Foreign Affairs Committee.
The new Republican House speaker defended his decision to follow through with plans for removal on Capitol Hill Tuesday night.
“What did Adam Schiff do as chairman of the Intel Committee?” McCarthy asked a reporter who was shouting questions. “What Adam Schiff did [was] use his power as the chairman and lied to the American public. Even the inspector general said it.”
McCarthy went on to list a litany of lies Schiff told the public while leading the legislature’s most secretive committee. The speaker chastised Schiff for smearing Republican counterparts on the Intelligence Committee as Russian propagandists and seeking to discredit the Hunter Biden laptop.
“When Devin Nunes put out a memo, [Schiff] said it was false. When we had a laptop, he used it before an election to be politics and say that it was false and say it was the Russians,” McCarthy said. “[Schiff] used his position as chairman, knowing he has information the rest of America does not, and lied to the American public.”
McCarthy made clear no Democrat lawmakers would be denied proper seats on committees to represent their constituents, but added that none of the three lawmakers whom he reassigned would serve in roles related to national security.
“They’ll serve on committees, but they will not serve on a place that has national security relevance because integrity matters to me,” McCarthy said.
The Republican House speaker restored committee assignments to Greene and Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar last week.