Republican Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy rejected Democrat Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ demand to appoint Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, both California Democrats, to the Committee on Intelligence Tuesday.
In a letter sent to McCarthy Friday, Jeffries said Swalwell and Schiff, with more than two decades of providing oversight of the U.S.’s intelligence community, were “eminently qualified” legislators to serve on the committee in charge of oversight of the country’s intelligence community.
However, McCarthy has recently expressed concerns with both legislators, saying that “Swalwell can’t get a security clearance in the private sector. I’m not going to give him a government security clearance.”
McCarthy replied to Jeffries in a letter explaining his reasons for rejecting his demand.
“I appreciate the loyalty you have to your Democrat colleagues, and I acknowledge your efforts to have two Members of Congress reinstated to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence,” wrote McCarthy. “But I cannot put partisan loyalty ahead of the national security, and I cannot simply recognize years of service as the sole criteria for membership to this essential committee. Integrity matters more.”
The Speaker added, “the misuse of this panel during the 116th and 117th Congresses severely undermined its primary national security and oversight missions — ultimately leaving our nation less safe.”
Swalwell has ties to a suspected Chinese spy
Rep. Swalwell reportedly has ties to suspected Chinese spy Christine Fang, known as Fang Fang. The assertions were first reported in December 2020 and prompted House Republicans to remove Swalwell from his spot on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Democrats suspended the resolution.
Swalwell’s purported ties with Fang include her being part of his 2014 reelection campaign fundraising efforts, although she didn’t make any direct donations, according to intelligence officials. Fang also interacted with Swalwell various times over several years and planted an intern in his office. She eventually fled the U.S. and returned to China.
Regarding Schiff, McCarthy stated the legislator had lied on too many occasions to the American public. Rep. Schiff was one of the lead spokesmen on the Democrats’ dangerous accusations that former President Donald Trump plotted with Russia in the lead-up to the 2020 election.
The subsequent investigation by Robert Mueller, Special Counsel, “did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple efforts from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.”
Additionally, the Mueller investigation found no evidence that Trump fired James Comey, then serving as FBI Director, to cover up a conspiracy between Russia and Trump’s campaign.