The House Intelligence Committee is aiming for a reset under new leadership and awaiting Democrats' replacements for a pair of booted members.
With partisan anti-Donald Trump Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., removed from the committee by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, takes over the gavel as chairman with an eye toward more bipartisan work.
"That's the goal," Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., told The Hill. "I think we've got really good, thoughtful members. We've got the right leadership in Turner. And we're trying to get back to that more bipartisan approach."
Republicans and former acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell, in appearances on Newsmax, have denounced the use of the House Intelligence Committee as a political weapon to attack former President Trump and help wage political battles against Republicans.
"We're hoping it'll be a reset, and we can get past all the infighting," a committee source told The Hill, "and just focus on national security."
McCarthy has denied House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., from nominating Schiff and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., to the Intelligence Committee over concerns of national security. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has even alleged Schiff was leaking classified intelligence to the media for Democrats' political gain.
But blocking the former chairman has Schiff miffed, saying it was no way to reset and end partisan abuse of intelligence.
"I think what McCarthy is doing is actually quite the opposite," Schiff told The Hill. "He's politicizing the committee. No speaker has ever sought to interfere with who the ranking member on the Intelligence Committee should be.
"Certainly, [Former] Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi had many differences with Devin Nunes, but she has a reverence for the work of the committee and Kevin McCarthy evidently doesn't."
An eight-year veteran of the committee, Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, said the reset will have to go deeper than just the removal of the past chairman and Swalwell, who FBI officials had to inform he was having a relationship with an alleged Chinese spy.
"I don't want to say, 'Yeah, the committee is going to work beautifully now because those two are gone,' because that would be unfair, and it wouldn't be accurate," Stewart told The Hill, presenting some across-the-aisle sentiment. "So I don't want to indicate that the committee didn't work, or was more political, only because of them."
One-time Rep. Devin Nunes, the chair of the committee during the first two years of Russiagate, dealt with a maelstrom of attacks on Trump.
"Devin was associated with those very contentious times just like Adam Schiff was associated with those very contentious times," Stewart added to The Hill. "I don't think it was necessarily Devin, I think it was the two leaders who had to navigate through those tough times."
Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., added the impeachments of Trump and attacks on his supporters after Jan. 6 did not help the Intelligence Committee keep the focus on national security.
"Whatever my own view is, obviously, the committee became enormously polarized, which is pretty unusual," Himes told The Hill. "When we moved on [after] Ukraine, it already started to repair itself. You know, Devin Nunes moved on.
"Mike Turner, in my opinion, has always been a fair actor."
Democrats are still awaiting Jeffries' nominations to the committee, after the House GOP welcomed Reps. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas; Michael Waltz, R-Fla., and French Hill, R-Ark., as new members of the committee.
"I hope that Leader Jeffries looks at who we've appointed," Gallagher told The Hill, "and responds in-kind with, not just bomb-throwers, but solutions-oriented types.
"Those younger members and I have a really good working relationship. We just hope to build on that."
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