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Tipsheet

Eric Swalwell Is Coming Off As Increasingly Desperate, With Help From Partisan Washington Post

Kevin Dietsch/Pool via AP

That Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was going to kick Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) off of their committees was seen as a long time coming. He had been promising to do so for months. Yet Rep. Swalwell in particular really can't get over it, despite there not only having been warning, but McCarthy having reason. On Thursday morning, Swalwell, as our friends at Twitchy highlighted, used his official account to tweet out expletives when quote tweeting a clip of the speaker. Swalwell shared a screenshot of an excerpt from a fact-check from The Washington Post.

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The fact-check in question, "McCarthy’s specious attacks on Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell," comes from Glenn Kessler on Wednesday, after McCarthy tweeted a clip on Tuesday of him previously reiterating to the press that Swalwell is unworthy to serve not only on the House Intelligence Committee, but supposedly any committee. 

"If you got the briefing I got from the FBI, you wouldn't have Swalwell on any committee," McCarthy told the press. "And you're gonna tell me other Democrats couldn't fill that slot. He cannot get a clearance in the private sector, so would you like to give him a government clearance?" McCarthy went on to later reiterate how "not only was he getting a clearance, he was inside an Intel committee. He had more information than the majority of all of the members." 

He also explained that "the only way that they even knew it came forward is when they went to nominate him for the Intel committee, and then the FBI came and told the leadership then, 'he's got a problem.' And they kept him on it. That  jeopardized all of us."

Kessler in his fact-check used the line about how "If you got the briefing I got from the FBI, you wouldn’t have [Eric] Swalwell on any committee."

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When it comes to McCarthy's reasoning, Kessler frames it as how it's a matter of "apparently payback time" from when Reps. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) were removed from their committees when Democrats were in control. They've since been put back under the Republican controlled 118th Congress. 

Kessler argues against McCarthy's reasoning, while justifying kicking Gosar and Greene off:

But unless you have been a regular consumer of right-wing media, you might be puzzled by the accusations used to justify their expulsion. Indeed, McCarthy’s reasoning is specious and vague, especially when compared to the actions of Greene and Gosar.

Greene’s statements and social media posts were widely publicized and, even though she renounced her statements just before the House vote, 11 Republicans backed removing her from committees. Gosar’s removal was back by two Republicans. There is no similar support in the Democratic caucus for barring Swalwell and Schiff from the Intelligence Committee. Meanwhile, Republicans said they are giving Greene and Gosar committee assignments in the new Congress.

When it comes to kicking Swalwell off of his committee, Kessler addresses "extensive ties" between Swalwell and Fang Fang, a Chinese spy. The first report about Fang Fang, from Axios, is mentioned in that it "never says Swalwell did anything questionable." 

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Other reports have since come out about Swalwell and Fang Fang though, and it's not clear how this changes the information that McCarthy received in his FBI briefing. Did Kessler receive that FBI briefing? It's not likely, especially since he relies on others who did, including McCarthy and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

Nevertheless, McCarthy essentially hides behind a classified briefing to suggest that Swalwell did something wrong: “If you got the briefing I got from the FBI, you wouldn’t have Swalwell on any committee.” Then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi got the same briefing and told reporters she had no concerns — though of course she would be expected to defend a fellow Democrat. But it strains credulity that she would keep him on the committee if the FBI had warned he was compromised.

Previous Republican speakers, including former Reps. John Boehner of Ohio and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin are also mentioned, but without much useful information. In fact, it's completely useless:

In an interview with MSNBC last week, Swalwell said that then-House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) was aware of the FBI investigation in 2015 and did not act to remove him from the Intelligence Committee.

Ryan, who became speaker in October 2015, after Fang left the United States, “was not briefed on Rep. Swalwell in 2015,” Ryan spokesman Kevin Seifert said. John A. Boehner was the speaker at the time of the briefings in early 2015.

“It was standard practice at the time Boehner served as Speaker for counterintelligence officials to notify the Speaker and Minority Leader and the Republican and Democratic leaders of the intelligence committee when counterintelligence briefings were provided to Members on either side of the aisle,” said Boehner spokesman Dave Schnittger. "We unfortunately cannot discuss or confirm specific instances of the notifications he received during his time as Speaker because these notifications routinely involved sensitive or classified information.”

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The fact-check also addressed remarks McCarthy made about Rep. Schiff, in that he "openly lied to the American public. He told you he had proof. He told you he didn’t know the whistleblower." Kessler mentioned they could "find no evidence that Schiff lied about whether he knew the whistleblower’s name."

Kessler's reasoning for granting McCarthy "four Pinocchios," which amounts to "Whoppers," is so bare bones that it just comes off as a partisan hack job:

McCarthy clearly warned there would be payback if Democrats started choosing which members could serve on House committees. The Democrats punished two Republican lawmakers — and now he wants to punish two Democrats. But in contrast to the public actions or statements made by Greene and Gosar, widely condemned at the time, these expulsions appear based on figments of imagination.

Schiff has consistently maintained he did not know the identity of the whistleblower — and no evidence has emerged to the contrary, despite McCarthy’s claim that he lied about it. As for Swalwell, there is no evidence he did anything wrong, despite McCarthy’s claim that a classified briefing suggested something nefarious.

Seriously, that's it. It's almost as if someone with Swalwell's communications team--or with Schiff's--wrote this. 

Regardless, one can't deny Swalwell's sense of desperation, which Twitchy has covered at length. The congressman has even tweeted out death threats he says he's received, which he has blamed McCarthy for. 

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As Twitchy mentioned, though, it's worth pointing out that "Eric Swalwell has an interesting habit of tweeting out all of these death threats he magically gets from people with a southern accent. Ok, men with a southern accent. When you see these various threats he’s tweeted in the past year you’ll notice they’re always conveniently timed so he can play the victim and blame some evil right-winger like Trump, MTG, or McCarthy."




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