Newly elected House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is rejecting the committee appointments of two high-profile Democrats—an apparent retaliation for their participation in several efforts to investigate former President Donald Trump.
“I have rejected the appointments of Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell for the House Intelligence Committee,” McCarthy wrote on Twitter Tuesday evening. “I am committed to returning the Committee to one of genuine honesty and credibility that regains the trust of the American people.”
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The Intelligence Committee is unique in that the speaker has final approval over the committee’s members—rather than the committee leaders who control the appointment process on other panels.
Schiff was a member of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, while Swalwell, in his former position on the Intelligence Committee, played a key role in investigating alleged links between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.
“This is petty, political payback for investigating Donald Trump,” Schiff wrote on Twitter after the announcement, while vowing to continue his work regardless of committee assignment. “If he thinks this will stop me, he will soon find out just how wrong he is. I will always defend our democracy.”
Swalwell also nodded at the idea that McCarthy was retaliating for his efforts to investigate the former president, and pointed to the fact that during his Trump-era tenure on the committee he was appointed and approved by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and former Speaker John Boehner.
“This rejection is based on a claim that the Washington Post independent-fact checker gave 4 Pinocchios,” Swalwell said. “Speaker Boehner and Ryan, both Gang of 8 members, appointed me to Intel with access to the same facts McCarthy is distorting. He can keep me off Intel, but I’m not going away.”
McCarthy is also rumored to be considering a move to block Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the Foreign Affairs Committee via a majority vote in the full House of Representatives. He did not respond to multiple questions from reporters on the matter Tuesday evening, according to The Washington Post.
The heated back-and-forth comes after Democrats, during the last Congress, removed far-right Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) from their committee assignments over their public support for violence against their political opponents.