Today’s Capitol Hill quiz: Should a guy who had to be warned off by the FBI that he was getting close to a woman he did not know was an alleged Chinese spy be a member of the House Intelligence Committee?
House speaker Nancy Pelosi thinks so, which is why she named Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell of California to the panel, according to The Hill.
But House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy disagrees. On Friday, he shared some raised eyebrows on Twitter and vowed to push back against Swalwell’s appointment.
“Pelosi just reappointed Eric Swalwell to the Intelligence Committee. Based on the briefing she and I received together, Swalwell should not be on the panel in charge of guarding our nation’s secrets. Next week, I will offer a resolution to remove him from the Intel Committee,” the California Republican tweeted on Friday.
Pelosi just reappointed Eric Swalwell to the Intelligence Committee. Based on the briefing she and I received together, Swalwell should not be on the panel in charge of guarding our nation’s secrets.
Next week, I will offer a resolution to remove him from the Intel Committee.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) March 12, 2021
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz also weighed in on the appointment:
To be fair, he has done a lot of undercover work on Chinese communists. https://t.co/rWTjXGpaIa
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 12, 2021
In December, reports emerged that Swalwell had been so close to a woman suspected of being a Chinese spy that he was given an FBI briefing to warn him away.
Some said at the time that Swalwell should not be on the Intelligence Committee:
“He was the most over-the-top critic of President Trump on Russia collusion, and it turns out he’s sleeping with a Chinese spy.”@RandPaul says @ericswalwell “ought to just resign from Congress,” after his association with an alleged Chinese spy was revealed. pic.twitter.com/84bmxfmHsn
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) December 16, 2020
Christine Fang, also known as Fang Fang, had been a prominent fundraiser for Swalwell’s 2014 congressional campaign and reportedly placed an intern in his office.
Fang had cultivated relationships with a number of other politicians, according to Axios, including two unnamed Midwestern mayors she allegedly had sexual relationships with.
In 2015, the FBI gave Swalwell what’s known as a “defensive briefing” — alerting him to the fact that they believed Fang was a spy. Swalwell says he cut off contact, although several of his family members remained Facebook friends with Fang until after the story broke.
Pelosi and McCarthy were briefed by the FBI about the issue, at McCarthy’s request, according to NPR.
McCarthy later said the briefing “only raised more questions. The one thing that was fundamentally answered: He should not be on Intel.”
Former Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, in a December interview, put the issue succinctly in a hypothetical question he would ask Pelosi concerning Swalwell’s membership at the time on the House Intelligence Committee.
“There are 230 [House] Democrats, and you mean to tell me she cannot find a single one that didn’t date a Chinese spy?” Gowdy said.
Gowdy said he is concerned that Swalwell has never been open about the extent of his relationship with Fang.
“I don’t think Swalwell has denied having a relationship [with her],” Gowdy said. “He said it was classified. I’ll be damned if I know what that means: All you’ve got to say is, ‘I didn’t sleep with her,’ Eric. That’s all you got to say.”
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