Swalwell was joined by fellow U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who also responded to allegations from McCarthy and his decision to reject the former from reappointment to chair of the Intelligence Committee, as well as his promise to block the latter from appointment to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
"Throughout this journey of vengeance, the three of us have chosen to stick together because this isn't about any individual committee assignment, this is about an institution where the speaker of the house is using his power to go after his political opponents and pick them off the field," Swalwell said.
Schiff, who led the first impeachment trial against then-President Donald Trump, has Tri-Valley ties as well, having grown up partly in Alamo and graduated from Monte Vista High School in Danville.
McCarthy was elected as House majority speaker on Jan. 7, following several days of contentious votes and Republican infighting at the outset of the 118th U.S. Congress on Jan. 3, which marked the first time in over 100 years that a speaker was elected past the first day of a new Congress' proceedings.
Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) was elected as minority leader by House Democrats on Jan. 3, following their loss of a majority of congressional seats in last year's general election and the retirement of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-S.F.) as Democratic House leader.
As Speaker of the House, McCarthy -- who has unilateral authority over the House Intelligence Committee -- moved quickly to remove Swalwell and Schiff, reasoning that his national security concerns about the two democrats outweighed their experience and time on the committee in a response to a letter to Jeffries from Jan. 21 requesting that he keep Reps. Swalwell and Schiff on the body.
"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," McCarthy said in a Jan. 24 letter to Jeffries that he posted on Twitter. "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."
For Swalwell in particular, McCarthy cited an FBI briefing from 2015 that found a woman who served for Swalwell's campaign had been discovered to be a spy for China's Ministry of State Security, leading to House Republicans -- then in the minority -- to call for Swalwell's removal from the committee in 2020 when the news was leaked to Axios.
The national news report by Axios over two years ago stated that Swalwell was not accused of any wrongdoing and immediately cut ties in 2015 when alerted to the allegations against Fang Fang, also known as Christine Fang. Still, Republican critics and conservative media have used the Fang Fang case in efforts to erode Swalwell's credibility.
Last week, Swalwell emphasized that he had been shocked to learn of the potential foreign interference in his 2014 campaign and doubled-down on his stance that McCarthy had political motives behind the decision, rather than national security concerns.
"The claims that Speaker McCarthy has made about me -- that I could never get a security clearance -- Mr. Schiff was also briefed on and supported me staying on the committee because the FBI said three times that all I did was two things: I helped them, over and over, and I was never suspected of wrongdoing," Swalwell said. "
Swalwell added that, with the incident and FBI investigation being years old, speakers prior to McCarthy, along with then-President Trump, had been privy to the same information, yet kept him on the committee.
"Donald Trump at the time had more access to any classified information than anyone here," Swalwell said. "Just like he called out my colleagues here at rallies, he called me out all the time. If he could have embarrassed me to weaponize classified information, you know he would."
Despite expressing frustrations and concerns about the veracity of the House and its committees under McCarthy's leadership, Swalwell said that he, Schiff and Omar would continue to band together to fight against what they see as destructive moves from the new House speaker.
"We're not going away," Swalwell said. "I think he will regret giving us more time on our hands."
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