In a news conference on Tuesday, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the House Speaker, was discussing his decision to exclude Reps. Adam Schiff (R-CA) and Eric Swalwell (R-CA) from the House Intelligence Committee when a reporter interrupted him.
“You have indicated that lying to us is an act that indicates you should then be taken off the Intel Committee, but why is it not a concern for Santos?” asked the reporter, Lisa Desjardins of PBS Newshour, comparing the troubled Rep. George Santos (R-NY) to Swalwell and Schiff.
The inquiry was made after McCarthy had recently stated he would reject Swalwell and Schiff’s appointments to the Intel Committee by Hakeem Jeffries (Dem-NY), the House Minority Leader, and after Santos had been appointed by the GOP Steering panel to two low-profile panels whose members don’t have access to secret information in the same manner that members on the Intel Committee do.
Desjardins interrupted McCarthy as he was about to say that Santos had been chosen by his district and that the district should have representation on the committee, saying, “That’s not a response to my question.”
“Why do Democrats have one standard for lying while Republicans have another?” asked Desjardins.
“Let me be very transparent and courteous to you,” McCarthy said in response. “You posed a query to me. Your inquiry will be answered when I respond. With all due respect, you don’t get to decide if I answer your question.”
“I’m going to be really clear,” McCarthy continued. “The Committee is unique. Do you understand the reason? Because you are unaware of what occurs in the Intel Committee. Other members of Congress are unaware of what occurs in the Committee and all of the global secrets.”
McCarthy claimed that it was an issue of “national security” to exclude the two California Dems. from that particular panel.
In his position as the Intel Committee’s chair, Schiff supported the Trump-Russia connection theory, which the Justice Dept. eventually disproved. For instance, Schiff once asserted that he had “more than just circumstantial proof” of collaboration, which prompted all GOP committee members to demand his resignation.
When Democrats tried to impeach former President Trump, Schiff, who was functioning as the head impeachment manager, came under fire for dramatizing a made-up phone discussion between Trump and the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky.
The FBI discovered that Swalwell formerly had connections to Fang Fang, a Chinese spy.
“McCarthy asserted that there are 200 more Democrats who are qualified to be on the committee. Even though Schiff lied, those voters chose him. Even though Swalwell also lied to people, those folks chose to elect him. … Since integrity is important to me, I will respect his voters and allow them to be on committees but not on boards that deal with concerns of national security.”