WASHINGTON — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) scolded a reporter who asked Tuesday why he gave admitted liar George Santos (R-NY) committee seats, but kicked out two Democrats from the House intelligence panel.
“You said lying to us is something that means you should be removed from the Intel board. But why isn’t that a factor? [for Santos]?” asked PBS reporter Lisa Desjardins.
“Well, let me be very…” McCarthy began.
“He’s a man who shouldn’t be on the committees,” Desjardins said.
“He was elected by his district, so…”, the speaker tried again, before the PBS reporter asked him to “answer my question”.
McCarthy bristled, saying, “Let me be very clear and respectful to you. You ask me a question. When I answer it, that’s the answer to your question. You can’t determine whether or not I’m answering a question, okay? With all due respect. Thanks.”
The scuffle followed McCarthy’s official dismissal of Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) from the high-level committee that is regularly briefed on America’s secrets, in which the speaker cited security and honesty issues with the two Democratic lawmakers.
Turning to the question of Desjardins, the speaker insisted: “The Intel committee is different. You know why? Because what happens in the Intel committee, you don’t know. What’s going on in the Intel committee, all the secrets of what’s going on in the world, other members of Congress don’t know.
McCarthy accused Schiff of knowing that The Post’s 2020 story about Hunter Biden’s overseas business dealings was not the result of Russian interference, but that she lied about it anyway.
“When we had a laptop he used it before an election to do politics and say it was wrong and said it was the Russians when he knew different when he knew the information,” said the speaker. “When a whistleblower came forward, he said he didn’t know the individual – although his staff had met him and set him up.”
Turning to Swalwell, McCarthy said Desjardins ‘didn’t get the briefing I had,’ noting that the FBI met him privately with former President Nancy Pelosi (D-California) to discuss ties of the Congressman with China.
“The FBI was worried about putting a congressman on the Intel committee who has the right to see things that others don’t because of his knowledge and his relationship with a Chinese spy,” he said. . “They brought it to the works of the leaders – I have this briefing.”
“So I don’t think he should be on this committee, and I think there are 200 other Democrats who can be on this committee. [instead,]” he added.
On Wednesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre defended Schiff and Swalwell, saying they “bring a lot to the table. She said the intelligence committee “shouldn’t be politicized.”
McCarthy said Tuesday he would allow the two Californians to serve on other committees because he “won’t be like the Democrats and do politics.”
“[They] can sit on a committee, but [they] will not serve Intel because it goes to America’s national security, and I will always put them first,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy last week named Santos to the science, space and technology and small business committee — despite the Long Island Republican’s admission to the Post last month that he had lied about the graduating from college and working for top investment firms.
Santos is expected to be reviewed by the House Ethics Committee after reporting on his lies and allegations of other misconduct. McCarthy had vowed on Tuesday that Santos would be removed from office if the panel found he had broken the law.