Up first was Schiff. McCarthy accused Schiff of lying about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russian intelligence. This has been a big refrain on the right, cherry-picking a slice of the Mueller Report on the affair, and hanging its decision-making on the fact that Mueller did not handcuff the sitting president. Schiff very quickly and calmly reminded CNN what exactly Mueller’s report said:
REP. ADAM SCHIFF: If you read the Mueller report, he makes clear, even in the first few pages of the report, that he states no conclusion on whether Donald Trump and his campaign colluded with the Russians. But what he does reveal in this report, what we found in our investigation, is that Donald Trump's campaign manager was sharing internal campaign polling data and their strategy for key battleground states with an agent of Russian intelligence while that same unit of Russian intelligence was helping the Trump campaign both with a hacking and dumping operation as well as a social media operation to elect Donald Trump. To most Americans, that is collusion. Now, whether it's proof beyond a reasonable doubt of the crime of conspiracy, that's what Bob Mueller was talking about. I've always distinguished between the two.
The “no conclusion” part of the Mueller report is often forgotten by right-wingers and their libertarian friends. Schiff then pointed out that this was not three-dimensional chess being played by the spectacularly pedestrian McCarthy, it is simply what he promised to do to get votes from humanity’s pariahs, Greene and Paul Gosar. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Next up was Swalwell. McCarthy pointed out Swalwell’s early political relationship with a woman who was later exposed as an intelligence agent from China. This was investigated by U.S. Intelligence agencies in 2015. You know who was the speaker then? Republican John Boehner. You know who followed him? Republican Paul Ryan. You know who was the president for the next four years? Donald Trump. You know what committee Swalwell sat on that entire time? You guessed it.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL: Speaker Boehner was briefed on this investigation. He could have removed me just as Speaker McCarthy did. He didn't. Devin Nunes was the chair of the Intelligence Committee. Never made a public peep about this. Paul Ryan would have access to the same investigation, reappointed me to the committee. Donald Trump who villainized me at every rally had more access to classified information than any person who walked the Earth.
If he could have weaponized that to go after me, you know, he would have. There's nothing there. I did what every American should have. This is some Bakersfield B.S. It's Kevin McCarthy weaponizing his ability to commit this political abuse because he perceives me just like Mr. Schiff and Miss Omar as an effective political opponent.
For those who do not know, Kevin McCarthy represents Bakersfield, California. Finally Omar, whose position on the Foreign Affairs Committee is in jeopardy, spoke to the clear history of the comments she made on social media that resulted in criticisms over her use of language and more specifically, what some people felt were antisemitic tropes—specifically one where she tweeted: “It's all about the Benjamins baby,” in regards to Republican attacks on squad members who were critical of Israel. Omar later apologized and promised to be more sensitive in how she used her position to criticize Israel. CNN’s Dana Bash rehashed the entire episode, basically asking Omar to once again explain what happened after she was criticized for her remarks.
REP. ILHAN OMAR: I might have used words at the time that I didn't understand were trafficking in antisemitism. When that was brought to my attention, I apologized. I owned up to it. That's the kind of person that I am. And I continue to work with my colleagues and my community to fight against antisemitism.
Considering that a search of the word “antisemitic” and most of the Republican Party’s elected officials’ names would yield multiple news story results, Omar decided that she would highlight the elephant in the room.
OMAR: It is politically motivated and in some cases is motivated by the fact that many of these members don't believe a Muslim, a refugee, an African, should even be in Congress, let alone have the opportunity to serve on the Foreign Affairs.
Bash, seeing the lowest-hanging fruit available to her in an interview, asked whether or not Omar was “accusing Kevin McCarthy of racism,” and Omar, far more polished than a television host like Bash, responded by reminding her of some recent greatest hits of the Republican Party. “I'm not making any accusations. I'm just laying out the facts. You remember Donald Trump coming into my state and saying, ‘Muslims, Somali refugees are infiltrating our country.’ You remember Marjorie Taylor Greene coming to Congress after Rashida [Tlaib] and I got sworn in and saying, ‘Muslims are infiltrating Congress?’ You remember Boebert saying that I was a terrorist? What did McCarthy do?”
Unable to respond to that series of facts, and maybe at the end of her question sheet, Bash turned to Schiff to ask him about McCarthy’s assertions that Omar is an antisemite. Schiff adeptly responded with a one-two punch, “If you look at the leader of the Republican Party, Donald Trump, he is dining with white nationalists and antisemites. The people that Kevin McCarthy just put on committees like Marjorie Taylor Greene and others are speaking at white nationalist rallies. This is, you know, as my colleague said, Bakersfield B.S. This is all pretextual.” Schiff proceeded to hit McCarthy in the fact zone, saying these moves have nothing to do with his or Swalwell’s or Omar’s “conduct,” and everything to do with “merely the weakness of Kevin McCarthy speakership. That is so reliant on these extreme members. I mean, how can you, on the one hand suggest that these are some kind of legitimate basis for unseating Democrats from committees and put someone like George Santos on any committee? The hypocrisy just grabs you by the throat.”
Watch the interview in two parts! Part One:
In an act of 'political vengeance,' McCarthy blocks Swalwell and Schiff from intelligence committee
Republicans try to distance themselves from national sales tax plan, but it's too late
McCarthy's bid to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar from Foreign Affairs Committee runs into stiff headwinds
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