House Republicans slammed the Democrats' effort to appoint Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, a move they said would have created a "national security liability," and a move that Speaker Kevin McCarthy ultimately rejected.
In a letter to McCarthy over the weekend, Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries had asked that the two "eminently qualified legislators" be reappointed to the committee despite Swalwell's association with a Chinese spy and Schiff’s promotion of the Steele dossier.
"House Democrats are attempting to erode the important national security work of the Intelligence Committee," House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., told Fox News Digital Tuesday, before House Speaker McCarthy acted to keep Swallwell and Schiff off the panel.
"Eric Swalwell is a national security liability compromised by the Chinese Communist Party after he engaged in a years-long relationship with a suspected Chinese spy.
"Clearly, he has no place serving on the committee in charge of America's top secrets, but House Democrats are shamefully looking the other way," Stefanik added. "House Republicans put an end to Shifty Schiff’s regime over weaponizing this committee for his partisan purposes, and we will use this committee to strengthen our national security and provide critical oversight of our nation’s intelligence to restore Americans’ trust in these agencies."
Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., who is the chairman of the newly formed House Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, recently noted that the House speaker has "enormous latitude" for making a case to bar Swalwell and Schiff from the intelligence committee.
"When it comes to the Intelligence Committee, the speaker has enormous latitude," Gallagher said last week. "And I think you can make a credible case that, given Rep. Swalwell’s past relationship and given Rep. Schiff’s conduct on the committee, that it’s in the interest of the institution to have them not on the committee."
McCarthy had vowed to take Swalwell and Schiff off the House Intelligence Committee, arguing Schiff "openly lied" about Russian election interference and that he had received a disturbing briefing from the FBI on Swalwell.
The speaker made good on his vow Tuesday evening in a letter to Jeffries, stating that he was "rejecting" the appointments of Swalwell and Schiff to the Intelligence Committee.
"I appreciate the loyalty you have to your Democrat colleagues, and I acknowledge your efforts to have two Members of Congress reinstated to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence," wrote McCarthy. "But I cannot put partisan loyalty ahead of national security, and I cannot simply recognize years of service as the sole criteria for membership on this essential committee. Integrity matters more.
"As such, in order to maintain a standard worthy of this committee's responsibilities, I am hereby rejecting the appointments of Representative Adam Schiff and Representative Eric Swalwell to serve on the Intelligence Committee," he continued.
"If you got the briefing I got from the FBI, you wouldn't have Swalwell on any committee," McCarthy said this month during a press conference after one reporter questioned McCarthy's commitment to allowing Democrats pick their own committee membership.
"And you're going to tell me other Democrats couldn't fill that slot? He cannot get a security clearance in the private sector," McCarthy said. "So would you like to give him a government clearance?"
"Kevin McCarthy kicking Schiff and I off is just too rich because you know he's going to put Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar and George Santos, who today admitted that he defrauded the Federal Elections Commission with all of his campaign finance. But he's going to kick two of us off," said Swalwell.
Nancy Mace, R-S.C., also slammed Jefrries for demanding the Democrats sit on the Intel Committee while on Fox & Friends First Tuesday, saying he is "using power to abuse power."
Fox News' Tyler Olson and Brianna Herlihy contributed to this report.