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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has publicly questioned whether Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., should be expelled from the House. But McCarthy has stopped short of calling for Schiff’s removal.
Another Republican representative submitted a resolution to expel Schiff, but McCarthy has not voiced his support for the resolution.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., gained notoriety among those on the political right while leading former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial. Since then, he’s been removed from the House Intelligence Committee he had chaired, and a Republican colleague moved to expel him from the chamber altogether.
But there’s no evidence that the expulsion effort is backed by the House speaker, despite claims to the contrary circulating online.
"BREAKING: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy called for the immediately expulsion and prosecution of Rep. Adam Schiff for committing crimes of treason against the United States," read a grammatically incorrect post shared May 17 on Instagram. It has been "liked" more than 12,000 times.
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
McCarthy, R-Calif., publicly questioned whether Schiff should be expelled from the House of Representatives, but he has stopped short of calling for his colleague’s removal.
During a May 16 press conference, McCarthy was asked by a reporter whether he supported efforts to expel Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., who was arrested and charged by federal prosecutors with wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and lying on congressional financial forms.
"Look, I think the George Santos indictment is very serious," McCarthy said. "I also know in America you’re innocent until proven guilty. But I don’t want to sit around and wait. So what I would like to do is move this to ethics."
Then, McCarthy brought up Special Counsel John Durham’s 300-plus page report about his probe into the FBI’s and Justice Department’s investigations of allegations that then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign had illegally coordinated with Russia to influence the election.
"I mean, we just had this report come out from Durham," McCarthy said. "What does that say about Adam Schiff? He lied to the American public. Should he be expelled from Congress as well?"
Schiff continued making the claims after former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 2019 report cleared the Trump campaign of criminal conspiracy or illegal coordination with Russia. At the time, Schiff said collusion may or may not be criminal and is distinct from proof of a criminal conspiracy.
Following McCarthy’s May 16 remarks, a reporter asked for clarification: "To be clear, are you saying you’re going to move to expel Schiff?"
"No," McCarthy replied. "I am raising the question to you."
On May 17, Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., introduced a resolution to expel Schiff from the House. It was referred to the House Ethics Committee, where it currently remains, according to Congress.gov. Expelling Schiff would require a two-thirds majority vote of the House.(Republicans currently hold 222 House seats, or about 51%, and Democrats have 213, or about 49%.) Luna’s resolution also has been the source of false claims.
BREAKING NEWS:— Adam Schiff (@AdamSchiff) May 18, 2023
A MAGA Republican Member of Congress just filed a motion to expel me from the U.S. House of Representatives.
I stood up to Donald Trump and held extreme MAGA forces accountable. Now they want payback.
They’ll go after anyone who defends the rule of law.
McCarthy told Politico on May 18 that he’d "have to look at" that resolution before deciding whether it would be given floor time.
PolitiFact searched Google and Nexis news archives for articles from credible news organizations and found no reports of McCarthy announcing his support for Schiff’s expulsion and prosecution. We also did not find any press releases from McCarthy’s office on the topic. We found no evidence to support the claim that Schiff has committed treason.
PolitiFact reached out to McCarthy and Schiff for comment, but did not receive replies.
We rate the claim that McCarthy called for Schiff’s immediate "expulsion and prosecution" False.
Instagram post, May 17, 2023
PolitiFact, Durham report criticized elements of FBI's investigation into Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, May 17, 2023
PolitiFact, George Santos has been arrested. Here’s a recap of his alleged falsehoods, May 10, 2023
USA Today, No, Kevin McCarthy has not called to expel Adam Schiff | Fact check, May 23, 2023
Politico, Schiff: There is now ‘more than circumstantial evidence’ of Trump-Russia collusion, March 22, 2017
Politico, Schiff: ‘Ample evidence of collusion in plain sight,’ April 21, 2019
PolitiFact, The Mueller report: What you need to know, April 18, 2019
Rep. Adam Schiff’s YouTube channel, Rep. Schiff on CNN: Evidence of collusion is clear, Mueller will find out if there's been a crime, Jan. 12, 2019
ABC News, 'This Week' Transcript 4-21-19: Kellyanne Conway and Rep. Adam Schiff, April 21, 2019
C-SPAN, McCarthy response to question about George Santos expulsion resolution, May 16, 2023
Congressional Research Service, Expulsion of members of Congress: legal authority and historical practice, Jan. 11, 2018
Office of Special Counsel John H. Durham, Report on matters related to intelligence activities and investigations arising out of the 2016 presidential campaigns, accessed May 16, 2023
The Guardian, Schiff ‘not backing down’ in face of Republican bid to expel him from Congress, May 18, 2023
House Press Gallery, Party Breakdown 118th Congress, accessed May 30, 2023
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