On Tuesday, CNN cut away from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s press conference after he made a series of unflattering claims about Representatives Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and Adam Schiff (D-CA).
CNN started carrying the conference at 11:11 a.m. Eastern, at which point the Speaker had already begun fielding questions from reporters. Approximately fifteen minutes later, one unidentified correspondent challenged his claim that House Democrats would be free to decide which of their members would serve on committees — or as he put it, “The other side will get to name their members.”
“But that’s not true with the Intelligence Committee, is it?” she pressed, adding: “You said you’re going to let Democrats appoint their own members to the [Intelligence] Committee, but you’ve also indicated that you’re not going to let Congressman Swalwell…?”
McCarthy interrupted before she could finish, but the gist of her question was that the Speaker had previously sated he would prevent certain Democrats, such as Schiff and Swalwell, from serving on committees. His doing so would be in direct conflict with his new claim that Democrats would “get to name their members,” hence the question.
He offered this explanation for the apparent inconsistency:
Let me phrase something very direct to you. If you got the briefing I got from the FBI, you wouldn’t have Swalwell on any committee. And you’re going to tell me other Democrats couldn’t fill that slot? He cannot get a security clearance in the private sector. So would you like to give him a government clearance?
… Not only was he getting a clearance, he was inside an Intel Committee. He had more information than the majority of all the members. Did you ever raise that issue? No, but you should’ve. You’re going to tell me there are 200 other Democrats that couldn’t fill that slot, but they kept him on it?
After a few more choice words about Swalwell, McCarthy switched targets: “Adam Schiff openly lied to the American public!”
Evidently that was a bridge too far, because somebody at CNN decided to pull the plug before their audience was forced to endure any more unflattering words about House Democrats. At This Hour host Kate Bolduan quickly cut in: “All right, so we’re listening in to new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy... Let’s talk about some of what has been discussed already.”
The panel resumed a previous discussion about the many, many scandals plaguing Rep. George Santos (R-NY), and somewhere, Congressman Swalwell’s Twitter followers breathed a collective sigh of relief.