House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in an interview published Monday that he would move to prevent a number of prominent Democrats from serving on committees if Republicans win the House in this year’s midterm elections.
McCarthy singled out Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), lawmakers he’d previously identified as potential targets. McCarthy had previously threatened to retaliate against Democrats for their votes in the last year to remove Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) from committees for invoking political violence in their rhetoric.
But in a Breitbart interview published Monday, McCarthy was more declarative that Republicans would not let those members serve on committees if they take control of the House.
“Never in the history [of Congress] have you had the majority tell the minority who can be on committee. But this new standard which these Democrats have voted for — if Eric Swalwell cannot get a security clearance in the private sector, there is no reason why he should be given one to be on Intel or Homeland Security. He will not be serving there,” McCarthy said.
“Ilhan Omar should not be serving on Foreign Affairs,” McCarthy added. “This is a new level of what the Democrats have done.”
McCarthy had also previously singled out Rep. Maxine Waters (Calif.) as a Democrat Republicans might prevent from serving on committees, but she was not mentioned in the interview published Monday.
However, McCarthy confirmed that he would act to prevent Schiff and Swalwell from serving on the House Intelligence Committee as well as Omar on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Schiff chairs the Intelligence panel, while Waters leads the House Financial Services Committee.
After Democrats — as well as GOP Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) — voted in November to strip Gosar of his committee assignments for posting an anime video that depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), McCarthy warned that some lawmakers “will need the approval of a majority to keep those positions in the future.”
Omar has faced some bipartisan pushback for her vocal criticism of Israel, such as previously saying that “Israel has hypnotized the world” and that the pro-Israel lobby “says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”
Republicans have also seized on a report from Axios in late 2020 that a suspected Chinese intelligence operative cultivated ties with Swalwell, who cut off contact with her several years ago after federal authorities alerted him to their concerns. Swalwell has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
Republicans nevertheless forced a procedural vote last year to remove Swalwell from the Intelligence Committee, which failed along party lines.
Schiff, meanwhile, has long been a top GOP target after he played a leading role in Democrats’ first impeachment inquiry against former President Trump in 2019.
McCarthy pointed to Schiff’s past calls to investigate claims in the infamous 2016 dossier that alleged Trump had ties to the Russian government. Federal investigations have found contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russians, but many of the sources and salacious allegations in the dossier have since been discredited.
“You look at Adam Schiff — he should not be serving on Intel when he has openly, knowingly now used a fake dossier, lied to the American public in the process and doesn’t have any ill will [and] says he wants to continue to do it,” McCarthy said.
Schiff, for his part, defended his past efforts to investigate allegations related to the Russian government’s efforts to boost Trump in the 2016 election.
“The top line there of Russian help and Trump willingness to accept it and make use of it proved all too accurate,” Schiff said on “Meet the Press” in November.
Schiff later on Monday sought to raise campaign funds off of McCarthy’s latest threat.
“This is yet another reason why a Republican majority must never happen. McCarthy knows that I will never shy away from my committee oversight responsibilities. That I will always stand up to him, and expose his duplicity to the American people,” Schiff wrote in an email to supporters.