Politics /

'Integrity Matters to Me': McCarthy Spars With Reporter Over Schiff, Swalwell Removal

'You Don't Get To Determine Whether I Answer Your Question Or Not, Okay?'

Newly Elected Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy sparred with a reporter over his decision to remove California representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from the House Intelligence Committee.

PBS reporter Lisa Desjardins criticized McCarthy for removing Schiff and Swalwell while also placing New York representative George Santos, who has been accused of lying by critics, on a separate committee within the House.

The speaker rebutted Desjardins by noting Santos was not placed on the House Intelligence Committee. McCarthy further noted he would allow Schiff and Swalwell to serve on other committees.

“You said that lying to us is something that means you should be removed from the Intel Committee. But why is it not a factor [for Santos]?” Desjardins countered.

McCarthy began his response though was cut off by Desjardins who suggested Santos was “a man who should not be on committees.”

“Let me be very clear and respectful to you. You ask me a question, when I answer it, it’s the answer to your question,” McCarthy responded. “You don’t get to determine whether I answer your question or not, okay?”

“Holy s—. Kevin McCarthy just absolutely destroyed a reporter who questioned his decision to remove Schiff and Swalwell from the intel committee,” wrote Senior Digital Strategist for X Strategies LLC, Greg Price.

“Total Annihilation.”

“You just raised the question. I will be very clear with you. The Intel Committee is different, well, you know why? Because what happens in the Intel Committee, you don’t know,” he continued. “What happens in the Intel committee, other secrets are going on the world, other members of Congress don’t know.”

The speaker continued, noting Schiff’s use of power as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to push Russian collusion claims.

[Schiff used] his power as a chairman and lied to the American public. Even the inspector general said it. When Devin Nunes put out a memo, [Schiff] said it was false. When we had a laptop, he used it before an election to [play] politics and say that it was false and said it was the Russians when he knew different, when he knew the Intel … He used his position as chairman, knowing he has information the rest of America does not, and lied to the American public.

“The FBI never came before this Congress to tell the leadership of this Congress that Eric Swalwell had a problem with the Chinese spy until he served on Intel,” McCarthy said of Swalwell’s removal. “So it wasn’t just us who were concerned about it, the FBI was concerned about putting a member of Congress on the Intel committee that has the rights to see things that others don’t, because of his knowledge and relationship with a Chinese spy.”

“But you know what, those voters elected Schiff, even though he lied, those voters elected Swalwell, even though he lied to the American public, too,” McCarthy concluded. “So, you know what? I respect his voters, too, and they’ll serve on committees, but they will not serve on a place that has national security relevance because integrity matters to me.”

Swalwell responded to McCarthy’s decision to remove himself and Schiff from the House Intelligence Committee saying, “We will not be quiet, we will not go away.”

“[McCarthy] will regret giving all three of us more time on our hands.”

“Our mission now is to restore the credibility and integrity of this institution of which the speaker has so gravely … smashed and destroyed.”

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