Jeffries sets up battle in tapping Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell for Intel panel; Speaker McCarthy obliges

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) is defying Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and has submitted Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) for the powerful Intelligence Committee, despite both being considered security risks by Republicans.

McCarthy has vowed to block both suggestions to the committee, setting up a fight between the left and right in the House.

Democrats are also reportedly planning to seat Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, according to a source who spoke to The Hill. If the move takes place, GOP leaders will take it to a floor vote to keep her off the committee.

Unlike the Intelligence panel, McCarthy does not have the power to block members of the Foreign Affairs Committee unilaterally. GOP leaders are expected to vote to remove her from the panel.

Jeffries sent a letter to McCarthy on Saturday informing him that he considers Schiff and Swalwell to be both “eminently qualified” to continue their service on the committee, according to Punchbowl News. He requested that the men be seated on the committee… a request that will almost certainly be rebuffed.

“Together, these Members have over two decades of distinguished leadership providing oversight of our nation’s Intelligence Community, in addition to their prosecutorial work in law enforcement prior to serving in Congress,” Jeffries told McCarthy in his letter.

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has special rules that empower the speaker to assign members to the panel, in consultation with the minority leader. Which means he can also reject them without a full House vote.

 

Following Democrats removing Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) from their committee assignments, Republicans are not in a tolerant mood when it comes to Schiff, Swalwell, and Omar. McCarthy intends to keep his word and keep all of them off committees.

Jeffries tried to thread the needle on the difference between the Republicans and the Democrats on the issue, “This action was taken by both Democrats and Republicans given the seriousness of the conduct involved, particularly in the aftermath of a violent insurrection and attack on the Capitol. It does not serve as precedent or justification for the removal of Representatives Schiff and Swalwell, given that they have never exhibited violent thoughts or behavior.”

He also invoked Rep. George Santos (R-NY), whom Jeffries called a “serial fraudster.”

“The apparent double standard risks undermining the spirit of bipartisan cooperation that is so desperately needed in Congress,” Jeffries wrote, attempting to sway McCarthy.

“What I am doing with the Intel Committee [is] bringing it back to the jurisdiction it’s supposed to do. Forward-looking to keep this country safe, keep the politics out of it,” McCarthy told reporters. “So yes, I’m doing exactly what we’re supposed to do.”

Schiff, who is a former chairman of the Intelligence Committee, led the witchhunt into former President Trump’s non-existent ties to Russia, and Republicans have accused him of lying during the course of that investigation.

Swalwell has ties to a suspected Chinese spy and is thought to have been caught up in a honeypot trap. She helped fundraise for Swalwell’s 2014 reelection campaign. He claims he cut ties with the Chinese national and claims McCarthy’s decision to remove him from the Intelligence Committee is “purely vengeance.”

Schiff served as a lead House manager for Trump’s first impeachment trial, while Swalwell served as a manager for the second one. The chances of either man getting back onto the committee are reportedly nonexistent.

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