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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Monday he plans to remove Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) from their respective committees if Republicans retake the House majority.

Why it matters: McCarthy's comments offer a preview of the scorched-earth tactics Republicans may adopt if they win back control of Congress in 2022.

McCarthy has long said the removals of Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) from their committees set a new standard that his party will not hesitate to use against Democrats.

  • In a floor speech opposing the Gosar's ouster in November, McCarthy said certain members, including Schiff, Swalwell and Omar, will "need the approval of a majority" to remain on their panels.
  • Republicans also point to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's refusal to seat two of McCarthy's picks for the Jan. 6 select committee as another precedent-setter.

What they're saying: "He will not be serving there," McCarthy said of Swalwell's placement on the House Intelligence Committee in an interview with Breitbart.

  • "Ilhan Omar should not be serving on" the House Foreign Affairs Committee, McCarthy added. "Adam Schiff, he should not be serving on Intel."
  • McCarthy pointed to Swalwell's association with a Chinese spy, reported by Axios. Swalwell, who cut ties with the spy after being alerted to her activities by federal investigators, has not been accused of wrongdoing.
  • In the case of Omar, McCarthy quoted her 2019 remark that a pro-Israel lobbying group's influence in Congress is "all about the Benjamins," which was blasted by members of both parties at the time as anti-Semitic.
  • McCarthy also said Schiff "lied to the American public" with his support of the unverified Steele dossier, which alleged extensive ties between former President Trump and Russia.

The other side: “It is always difficult to take Kevin McCarthy seriously," Schiff spokesperson Lauren French told Axios.

  • "Nevertheless, allowing McCarthy to get anywhere near the Speaker’s gavel would be catastrophic — not just because of his propensity for falsehoods and smears, but because he will exist solely to do Donald Trump’s bidding — even potentially overturning the 2024 results.”
  • Swalwell's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but he responded to McCarthy on Twitter: "McCarthy is targeting me for 1 reason: I’m effective. He wants to carry water (& sort Starbursts) for Trump’s Big Lie & not be called out. He’s projecting onto me b/c he’s incapable of facing down the Ku Klux Klan elements in his caucus. If he thinks he’s silencing me, he’s not."
  • A spokesperson for Omar declined to comment.

Editor's note: This post was updated to include a tweet from Rep. Eric Swalwell.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 13, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Kevin McCarthy declines interview with Jan. 6 select committee

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Wednesday he will not participate with the Jan. 6 select committee's request to interview him about his communications with former President Trump.

Driving the news: McCarthy, the highest-ranking elected official the panel has asked for information, said that he had nothing to add and criticized the panel's "abuse of power."

Jan 13, 2022 - Politics & Policy

First look: NRCC raised $140 million in 2021

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The House Republicans' campaign arm raised $140 million in 2021, and $17.9 million in December alone, setting a new record for the committee's off-year fundraising, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The hefty cash infusion into the National Republican Campaign Committee comes as House Republican leaders are ramping up their efforts to take back the chamber's majority in November. The party plans to focus its messaging on inflation, immigration, crime and pandemic closures.

1 hour ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to actually deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.