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The White House defends Omar, Schiff and Swalwell as Kevin McCarthy tries to kick them out of commissions

The White House on Wednesday sided with three Democratic lawmakers who are trying to strip House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of their highly valuable committee assignments.

On Tuesday, McCarthy decided that Representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell were no longer welcome on the House Intel Committee — and because it’s a select panel, not a standing panel, he has the final say on membership.

He has also threatened a House vote to remove Representative Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee over comments she previously made about Israel.

Karine Jean-Pierre, President Biden’s press secretary, was asked at her regular news briefing about McCarthy’s letter expelling Schiff and Swalwell from the Intelligence Committee, saying that both she and Omar bring valuable “expertise” to their respective panel assignments.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked if House Speaker McCarthy kept Democratic Representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from the Intelligence Committee, and defended them along with Rep. Ilhan Omar

She said all three “bring a lot to the table when it comes to foreign policy and national security.”

“When it comes to that committee, it should not be politicized,” said Jean-Pierre.

“It should be independent, and again, those congressmen bring a lot of expertise to that committee.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Schiff, Omar and Swalwell held a joint press event to discuss their Capitol drama. They claimed McCarthy made Donald Trump’s bid by stripping them of their assignments.

Schiff said at the press conference, “The cardinal sin seems to be that I led the deposition of his master at Mar-a-Lago for withholding hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid from Ukraine, a nation already at war. with Russia, to extort that country to help Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.”

Swalwell complained that McCarthy uses his power as a speaker to “go after his political opponents and take them off the field.” “In my case, it’s purely political revenge,” Swalwell added.

Swalwell (left) and Schiff (center) were removed from the House Intelligence Committee, while Omar (right) is threatened with a vote to remove her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  They held a press conference on Wednesday to respond

Swalwell (left) and Schiff (center) were removed from the House Intelligence Committee, while Omar (right) is threatened with a vote to remove her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  They held a press conference on Wednesday to respond

Swalwell (left) and Schiff (center) were removed from the House Intelligence Committee, while Omar (right) is threatened with a vote to remove her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. They held a press conference on Wednesday to respond

The Democrats said House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (pictured) made the offer of “his master at Mar-a-Lago” as “revenge” for impeaching former President Donald Trump by removing them from the House Intelligence Committee

In a heated argument with a reporter Tuesday night, McCarthy pointed to Schiff’s role in Russiagate during the Trump years, saying the California Democrat had “lied to the American public” about the legitimacy of Hunter Biden’s laptop while he served as chairman of the Intelligence Commission in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election.

“And if you want to talk about Swalwell, let’s talk about Swalwell,” McCarthy continued. “Because you didn’t have the briefing I did.”

McCarthy then brought up an FBI briefing he had with then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as well as Schiff, about Swalwell’s entanglements with an alleged Chinese spy named Fang Fang.

“As he pointed out, I was at that briefing and if Kevin McCarthy is misrepresenting it and doing the American people a disservice, it’s embarrassing,” Schiff said. “This is a blatantly unfair smear of Mr. McCarthy,” the California Democrat said.

Swalwell said he only did two things: “I’ve helped them over and over and I’ve never been suspected of wrongdoing.”

Omar pointed out that she apologized for making anti-Semitic remarks early in her tenure in Congress.

“I have dealt with it, I have apologised. It’s been two and a half trimesters,” the Minnesota Democrat said. “I think it’s very important in all of our cases to remember that it’s not the allegations McCarthy is making against us that push for our removal from these committees.”

“It’s about revenge. It’s about appeasing the former president,” she added.

She argued that “all three of us have been a thorn in the side of the previous disgraced president.”

“Republicans have fought for our seats and clearly know how effective we have been in upholding the Constitution, defending our democracy and standing up to extremists,” she said.

McCarthy was able to unilaterally remove Schiff and Swalwell from the Intelligence Committee, but Omar’s fate will be in the hands of the full House.

It is unclear whether McCarthy has the votes.

Moderate Republican Representatives Victoria Spartz and Nancy Mace have said they opposed the move.

McCarthy is also one vote short as Rep. Greg Steube is recovering from significant injuries after falling off a ladder at his Florida home.

The new House Republican majority removed the ability for members to vote by proxy.

McCarthy was questioned Tuesday night about how he could push Schiff and Swalwell out of their committees but allow serial liar and Republican Representative George Santos to be assigned to two committees: the Small Business Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee.

“I’ll be very clear with you. The Intel committee is different. You know why? Because what happens in the Intel committee, you don’t know,” McCarthy told PBS NewsHour’s Lisa Desjardins.

Schiff responded by saying, “the hypocrisy just grabs you by the throat.”

“This is a Republican speaker who puts a human con man, George Santos, on committees, a serial galvanizer over every part of his existence,” Schiff said.

In a tense back and forth with Desjardins at a press conference on Tuesday, McCarthy also pointed out that Schiff and Swalwell could serve on other committees — just not those charged with the country’s secrets.

“But you know what, those voters elected Schiff even though he lied, those voters chose Swalwell even though he lied to the American public as well,” McCarthy reasoned. ‘So you know what? I also respect his constituents and they will sit on committees. But they will not serve in a place that has implications for national security, because integrity is important to me.”

“I will not be like the Democrats and play politics with this. Where they removed Republicans from committees and all committees,” McCarthy also said.

During the last convention, Republican Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar were stripped of all their committee assignments after sharing social media posts threatening violence against Democrats, including then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

They were removed from committees by floor vote.

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