At a Tuesday news conference, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy stomped all over, jumped up and down on and then set fire to a reporter who questioned his decision to remove Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, both of California, from the House Intelligence Committee.
Who knew McCarthy was capable of delivering such an epic smackdown?
The reporter in question was Lisa Desjardins of PBS, who talked over the speaker as she badgered him about his removal of Schiff and Swalwell from the Intelligence Committee in relation to his stance on New York Republican Rep. George Santos, whose campaign fabrications have led to calls to resign.
At one point, Desjardins interrupted McCarthy to say he wasn’t answering her question.
“OK, let me be very clear and respectful to you,” he responded. “You asked me a question. When I answer it, it’s the answer to your question. You don’t get to determine whether I answered your question or not, OK? In all respect.”
The speaker continued, “Let’s answer her question. You just raised the question. I’m going to 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, all of the secrets that are going on in the world — other members of Congress don’t know.
“What did Adam Schiff do as the chairman of the Intel Committee? What Adam Schiff did was use his power as a chairman and lie to the American public. … When [former Intelligence Committee Ranking Member] Devin Nunes put out a memo, he said it was false.
“When we had a laptop [that once belonged to President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter], he used it before an election to be politics and say that it was false and said it was the Russians when he knew different. … If you talk to [former Director of National Intelligence] John Ratcliffe, DNI, he came out ahead of time and said there’s no intel to prove that.
“And he [Schiff] 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 [committee]. But I will not be like Democrats and play politics with these, where they removed Republicans from committees and all committees. So yes, he can serve on a committee, but he will not serve on Intel because it goes to the national security of America and I will always put them first, all right?”
McCarthy then turned his attention to Swalwell and the Democrat’s relationship with Chinese operative Christine Fang.
“And if you want to talk about Swalwell, let’s talk about Swalwell, because you have not had the briefing that I had,” the speaker said. “I had the briefing and Nancy Pelosi had the 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 a Chinese spy until he served on Intel.
“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 the Chinese spy. … I got that briefing, so I do not believe he should sit on there, 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 even though he lied. Those voters elected Swalwell even though he lied to the American public too. So you know what? I’ll 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.
“That’s the answer to your question.”
.@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
His response drew raves from conservatives on Twitter.
I just gained a whole lot more respect for speaker McCarthy,
— Dave Dalton (@davedalton25) January 25, 2023
McCarthy knocked it out of the park and out of the parking lot as well.
— Salvaje Unitario (@SalvajeUnitario) January 25, 2023
— Michael (unfiltered) (@M77013476) January 25, 2023
That was a phenomenal response, @SpeakerMcCarthy !
— Proud Ultra MAGA Gang member (@miostreams) January 25, 2023
I do not like Kevin McCarthy and have called him all kind of names. I’m gonna swallow some crow here & say he’s making me a believer. Keeping his word, and briefings like this, calling out Schiff
GOP might be worth something after all! Need a strong GOP for Trump.
— Rambling Infantryman (@Veteran4Amer1ca) January 25, 2023
Schiff’s name has almost become synonymous with “liar” since 2016.
Despite the fact that evidence of former President Donald Trump’s collusion with the Kremlin to win the 2016 election never materialized, this repellent lawmaker claimed for three years that it was in “plain sight.”
Shortly after special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation ended in the spring of 2019, Schiff seized upon a July 2019 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and used it as the basis for Trump’s first impeachment. He then served as the lead House manager for the Senate trial, which ended in Trump’s acquittal.
Swalwell had issues of his own, including his entanglement with Fang, also called “Fang Fang.”
Axios broke the story in December 2020 that he had been targeted by what “U.S. officials believe was a political intelligence operation run by China’s main civilian spy agency between 2011 and 2015.” The report said she “took part in fundraising activity” for Swalwell’s 2014 campaign and even “helped place at least one intern in Swalwell’s office.”
He also has the dubious distinction of appearing to have farted on national television.
Good for McCarthy for making good on his promise to kick Schiff and Swalwell off the Intelligence Committee and for annihilating a liberal reporter who thinks lying to the public about issues of national importance is not a disqualification for service.