House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) slammed a reporter Tuesday evening who pressed him over his decision to keep Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) off the Intelligence Committee.
McCarthy made the remarks when asked a question comparing the treatment of Rep. George Santos (R-NY), who is embroiled in a scandal over false claims that he made about his past, to his decision to not place Schiff and Swalwell on the committee.
“Let me be clear and respectful to you. You ask me a question. When I answer it, it’s the answer to your question,” McCarthy began. “You don’t get to determine whether I answer your question or not.”
.@SpeakerMcCarthy to reporter: Let me be very clear & respectful to you. You ask me a question when I answer it it's the answer to your question. You don't get to determine whether I answer a question or not, okay? In all respect…what happens in the Intel Cmte you don't know. pic.twitter.com/WD57QB7m1v
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 25, 2023
KEVIN MCCARTHY, HOUSE SPEAKER (R): He’s got elected by his district. Let me be clear and respectful to you. You ask me a question. When I answer it, it’s the answer to your question. You don’t get to determine whether I answer your question or not. Okay, always, thank you. Let’s answer her question.
You just raised a question, I’m gonna be very clear with you, the Intel Committee is different. You know why, because what happens in the Intel Committee, you don’t know what happens in the Intel Committee of the the secrets are going on in the world. Other Members of Congress don’t know. What did Adam Schiff do with the Chairman of the Intel Committee? What Adam Schiff did is use his power as a Chairman and lied to the American public, even the Inspector General said it. When Devin Nunes put out a memo, he said it was false. When we had a laptop. He used it before an election to be politics, and say that it was false and said it was the Russians when he knew when he knew the intel. If you talk to John Radcliffe, DNI, he came out ahead of time and says there’s no Intel to prove that and he used his position as chairman, knowing he has information the rest of America does not and lied to the American public.
When a whistleblower came forward. He said he did not know the individual even though his staff had met with him and set it up, so no, he does not have a right to sit on that. But I will not be like Democrats and play politics, where they removed Republicans from committees and all committees. He can serve on a committee, but he will not serve on intel because it proves to the national security of America and I will always put them first, alright.
And if you want to talk about Swalwell, let’s talk about Swalwell. Because you could not have the briefing that I had. I had the briefing and Nancy Pelosi had that briefing from the FBI. 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. So it wasn’t just us who are concerned, 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. They brought it to the works of the leaders. I’ve got that briefing. So I do not believe he should sit on that committee.
And I believe there’s 200 other Democrats that can serve on that committee. So this has nothing to do with Santos. Santos is not on the Intel Committee, but you know what, those voters elected Schiff, and those voters elected Swalwell even though he lied to the American public too. So in all respect to his voters too, they will serve on committees, but they will not serve on a place that has national security relevance because integrity matters to me.
Related: McCarthy Formally Kicks Schiff And Swalwell From House Intel: ‘Integrity Matters More’