House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told Republican delegates gathered in Sacramento on Saturday that Rep. Adam Schiff “should never” be elected Senator in California.
McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, speaking to the California Republican Party Spring 2023 Organizing Convention, used his time at the podium to call out prominent California Democrats like 2024 Senate candidate Schiff, D-Burbank, Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin, and Gov. Gavin Newsom.
He accused Schiff and Swalwell of lying “time and time again” during their tenure on the House Intelligence Committee, which oversees the FBI, the CIA, and other national security agencies.
“I promised before I was elected, if I was fortunate enough to become Speaker, we would change the Intel Committee from the ‘impeachment committee’ to what it’s supposed to be,” McCarthy said at the convention. Schiff and Swalwell “dropped the ball” as committee members, he said.
McCarthy did not explain Saturday what Schiff allegedly lied about. In the past he has accused Schiff of lying when he claimed he did not know the whistleblower who had first-hand knowledge that Trump tried to get Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden.
“When a whistleblower came forward, [Schiff] said he did not know the individual even though his staff had met with him and set it up,” McCarthy told reporters in January. A member of Schiff’s staff reportedly knew the whistleblower — which Schiff denied — but Schiff himself had not met with them.
In 2020, Axios reported that Swalwell, who served as a manager in Mr. Trump’s second impeachment trial, was targeted by a suspected Chinese intelligence operative as part of an influence campaign in 2014, prior to his service on the intelligence committee. He was not been accused of any wrongdoing.
After the 15 rounds of voting it took for McCarthy to be elected Speaker of the House in January, one of the first things he did was remove Schiff and Swalwell from the House Intelligence Committee.
“You should be held to a higher bar” to be placed on such a committee, McCarthy said on Saturday. “You cannot use your position as Intel chair to lie to the American public as Schiff has done time and time again.”
In a January letter to House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York), McCarthy cited a “misuse of this panel during the 116th and 117th Congress,” which “undermined its primary national security and oversight missions — ultimately leaving the country less safe.”
Rep. Schiff, who served as Intel Committee chairman from 2015 to 2019, led the committee through former President Donald Trump’s two impeachment inquiries. He announced his run for Senate in late January, the same week that McCarthy removed him from the committee.
The Sacramento Bee reached out to his office for comment but did not hear back. An early poll in February showed Schiff the current front-runner to replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who will retire in 2024.
McCarthy had similarly strong words for Gov. Newsom — and Democratic “overspending” in general.
“We’ve watched what Gavin has done to our state,” he said. Newsom is “the only Governor I know that can take a budget surplus and bring it into a budget deficit.”
“He’s the only Governor I know in the country that thinks spending $128 billion on a train to nowhere is a good investment … the only thing I think Gavin spends more time on than high speed rails is spending time on his hair.”
McCarthy said that the first of his three priorities going into 2024 is the country’s $31 million deficit; his other priorities are changing the education system via a “Parents Bill of Rights” and taking a more aggressive approach in dealing with China.
McCarthy met with President Joe Biden last month, and said he told him two things: that he would never support raising taxes, and that he would never pass a bill that would raise the debt ceiling without also incorporating spending cuts.
“If you want to cut spending and find savings, I’m all in,” he said he told the President.
Missing from McCarthy’s speech was the acknowledgment that, under the Trump administration, the national debt rose by nearly $7.8 trillion. It was the third-biggest deficit increase of any presidential administration.
McCarthy also pledged to take aggressive action on border crossings, fentanyl use and distribution, and efforts to defund the police.
“We’re going to make your streets safe again,” he said.
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