J. Scott Applewhite / AP
Kevin McCarthy, chairman of House Minority, R-Calif., Is considering changing the cast of the House Intelligence Committee to include some of President Trump's most vociferous defenders in Congress.
"If Democrats turn Intel into an impeachment committee, I'll adjust that committee for a short time," McCarthy told Politico Tuesday. A McCarthy spokesman confirmed his comments to NPR.
GOP representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio and North Carolina's Mark Meadows are topping the list of possible temporary appointments. A GOP adviser confirmed that Jordan and Meadows are "top options" for a temporary assignment.
Long before the impeachment investigation, Jordan and Meadows have made a name for themselves as two of Trump's best ally and defenders in Congress at the meeting and aggressive defense of President Trump in the media. Meadows traveled to New York City with the President over the weekend to attend the Ultimate Fighting Championship at Madison Square Garden.
Allies of the two legislators cheered the idea on Twitter. MP Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., praised her as the "most effective questioner" of the GOP and said that she had visited more statements from MPs than republican members of the Intelligence Committee. "Shame we failed," Trump tweeted when they were not appointed. Gaetz also supports the addition of Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., to the panel.
McCarthy has almost the sole discretion of which members sit on the intelligence committee, although any decision to change the composition of the committee should be ratified by the GOP conference of the House of Representatives. Any shock would likely be supported by the White House, effectively minimizing opposition to the decision.
However, it is subject to internal politics. To accommodate new Republicans in the intelligence panel, other Republicans would have to resign. It is unclear how a possible shock will affect the current best Republican in the committee, Rep. Devin Nunes of California. A spokesman for Nunes did not respond to NPR's request for comment.
The reject rates – the number of Democrats and Republicans in each chamber – are set by the majority, and it is unlikely that the Democrats will grant McCarthy a reprieve for this purpose. Currently, Democrats have 13 seats in the committee and Republicans nine seats, so any new member would force other Republicans to step down temporarily to make room for them Committee could come into effect next week when they return.