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Tipsheet

CNN Gives Reps. Schiff, Swalwell, Omar Platform to Play the Victim Over Committee Assignments

AP Photo/Ron Harris

Last Tuesday, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) made good on a promise that was months in the making by formally blocking Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) from serving on the House Intel Committee. He's also looking to block Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from serving on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. McCarthy has made clear that he has cause as to why such members should not serve on these committees, yet they have predictably made themselves out to be the victims that they believe that they are. They were given such a platform to espouse as much during CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.

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To open the program, host Dana Bash teased having the three Democratic members on, who all appeared together to lament their situation. They were each allowed to address McCarthy's reasons against blocking them, or, in Omar's case, seeking to block them from committees. 

Rep. Schiff doubled down on how he went about the narrative of former President Donald Trump and Russian collusion, claiming "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 have always distinguished between the two." He also offered that "this is only one of a shifting series of rationalizations and pretexts that McCarthy is using."

Bash did point out McCarthy's argument "that this is part of the pattern" from Schiff, who has not only served on the committee despite such lies, but has been its chairman. 

As he ran out of justifications, he went on to try to downplay and even dismiss the idea that McCarthy removed him from the committee for cause. "But, again, let's be clear what's really going on here. McCarthy has said Adam Schiff prosecuted the case against Trump. Ukraine impeachment was a hoax," Schiff said, referring to himself in the third person. "He's given 15 explanations. The only real explanation is, he needs Marjorie Taylor Greene's vote. He needs Paul Gosar's vote. He wants to retaliate for their removal from the committee."

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When Democrats controlled the 117th Congress, they did remove Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) from their committees, from all committee assignments, in fact. So while retaliation may be as good a reason as any, again, McCarthy has had cause to not let Schiff serve. 

Not only did Schiff seek to play the victim, he also appeared to flatter himself, too. "And, apparently, he believes I was very effective in exposing his misconduct, Donald Trump's misconduct," Schiff went on to say about McCarthy. "And that's what they're trying to stop. So, I think that he benefits from having these smears repeated. And that's part of what he gains from it. But this is a pretext, and nothing more."

When it was Rep. Swalwell's turn to defend himself, he said to "take the FBI's word for it" when it comes to seeking to free himself from any sense of wrongdoing by his association with Fang Fang, a Chinese spy. It's worth reminding, however, that Speaker McCarthy has repeatedly emphasized an FBI briefing he received and the concerns that stemmed from it as to why he cannot let Swalwell serve on the committee. 

In claiming "there's nothing there" based on how other Republican leaders did not take the same course of action that McCarthy has, Swalwell looked to appeal himself to the common man. Like Schiff did, Swalwell also sought to flatter himself in his own way. "I did what every American should have," he offered. "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 Ms. Omar, as an effective political opponent."

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Turning to Rep. Omar, Bash brought up "a pattern of antisemitic and other controversial statements" she's made, though she pointed out that this is "what Republicans are saying about you." Among the many examples included her view that Israel was "hypnotizing the world," that it is engaging in "apartheid" and her support for the anti-Israel BDSM movement. Not mentioned was her casual remarks about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, or how she equated the United States and Israel with Hamas, the Taliban, and Afghanistan. 

While Omar admitted "yes, I might have used words at the time," she stunningly claimed she "didn't understand [they] were trafficking in antisemitism," and that she apologized and owned up to them, because "that's the kind of person that I am."

Omar went on to point out later in the segment that "I certainly did not or was not aware that the word hypnotize was a trope. I wasn't aware of the fact that there are tropes about Jews and money. That has a been very enlightening part of this journey." She would continue to play the victim even more so. "To insinuate that I knowingly said these things, when people have read into my comments to make it sound as if I have something against the Jewish community, is so wrong."

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It's worth pointing out, though, that Omar's anti-Israel views continue to even more recently. She remains a member of the squad, alongside Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), who continues to smear Israel with charges it is engaging in "apartheid" and just earlier this month claimed that it is involved in "the illegal confiscation of Palestinian property."

Further, Omar herself notably just last September abstained from voting on an amendment from Rep. August Plfuger (R-TX) in committee. "It is the further sense of Congress that anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and claims that Israel is an apartheid state should have absolutely no place in any curriculum used by the Palestinian Authority," the amendment read. 

As she continued to defend herself to Bash, Omar, just as the others did, portrayed herself as the victim. "And if they want to debate political differences, and that's something that we should all have the opportunity to do so, but to smear someone and their character, their love for their country and the work that they get to do on a committee is wrong," she lamented. 

"And it is politically motivated. And, in some cases, it's 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 Committee," Omar continued, doubling down even further on making herself into a victim. 

When Bash pointed out "it sounds like you're accusing Kevin McCarthy of racism," Omar offered "I mean, I'm not making any accusations. I'm just laying out the facts" and went on to engage in a case of whataboutism when it comes to Republicans, even claiming "so these people are OK with Islamophobia. They're okay with trafficking in their own ways in antisemitism. They are not okay with having a Muslim have a voice on that committee."

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Bash let her make her point, declining to point out that Democrats have downplayed and dismissed Omar's antisemitism by effectively claiming she didn't know any better, as well as watering down an amendment that was meant to call out her antisemitism. 

At this point in the segment, Bash turned it back over to Schiff, who is Jewish, but who could only reiterate the point his fellow Democrats made, such as how this is "Bakersfield B.S.," and by bringing up his and his colleagues issues with remarks from Trump. 

"This is merely the weakness of Kevin McCarthy's speakership, that he's so reliant on these extreme members," Schiff said, proving they really have nothing else. "I mean, how can you, on the one hand, suggest that these are -- some kind of legitimate basis for unseating Democrats on committees, and put someone like George Santos on any committee? The hypocrisy just grabs you by the throat."

The segment closed with Swalwell making a point he has used virtually every time he feels he has been victimized. "These smears inspire violence," he offered, calling to mind threatening voicemails he has tweeted out claiming he has received. This time, however, he also brought former Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband, Paul Pelosi, and the violent assault he experienced. "And there's real-life consequences, as we have just seen, sadly, with Speaker Pelosi's husband and the video that's come to light of it," Swalwell said to close the segment.

Not enough can be said about how ridiculous the three members behaved. Larry O'Connor is among those who has addressed the segment. 

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Omar's responses are particularly outrageous, with many having to that part of the segment with incredulity. 

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