McCarthy Questions Rep. Swalwell’s Fitness for Intel Committee

salwell chinese spy
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calf., votes to approve the second article of impeachment against President Donald Trump, during a House Judiciary Committee meeting in December 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is questioning Rep. Eric Swalwell’s (D-Calif.) fitness to serve on the House Intelligence Committee, due to allegations that Swalwell was targeted by a Chinese spy during the Obama Administration.

“Rep. Swalwell has long been disqualified from serving on the Intel Committee,” McCarthy tweeted Tuesday. “For years he peddled Russian disinformation for political gain. Now we find out he was involved in an effort by a reported spy to gather info for China. Swalwell is a national security liability.”

Earlier this week, Axios broke the story that a Chinese national named Fang Fang or Christine Fang, a suspected Chinese intelligence operative, “developed extensive ties with local and national politicians” including Swalwell, “in what U.S. officials believe was a political intelligence operation run by China’s main civilian spy agency between 2011 and 2015.”

According to the Axios story, Fang “took part in fundraising activity for Swalwell’s 2014 re-election campaign,” “helped place at least one intern in Swalwell’s office,” and “interacted with Swalwell at multiple events over the course of several years.”

U.S. intelligence officials warned Swalwell about Fang in 2015. The Congressman immediately cut off contact with her, and he hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing.

Swalwell’s office said in a statement to Axios, “Rep. Swalwell, long ago, provided information about this person — whom he met more than eight years ago, and whom he hasn’t seen in nearly six years — to the FBI.”

Swalwell briefly ran for president this election cycle, ending his bid in July 2019.

While Fang had connections with a number of elected officials, Swalwell told Politico in an interview Tuesday that he believed this information about him was leaked because he has been a vocal Trump critic.

“I’ve been a critic of the president. I’ve spoken out against him. I was on both committees that worked to impeach him,” Swalwell said. “The timing feels like that should be looked at.”

On Wednesday, Swalwell said on CNN, “If this is a country where people who criticize the president are going to have law enforcement information weaponized against them, that’s not a country that any of us want to live in. And I hope it is investigated as to who leaked this information.”

In addition to challenging Swalwell’s fitness to serve on the Intelligence Committee, House Minority Leader McCarthy questioned whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi knew Swalwell was allegedly compromised.

“Rep. Eric Swalwell has years-long ties with a reported spy from China,” McCarthy tweeted Wednesday. “Did Nancy Pelosi know that when she appointed him to the House Intelligence Committee?”

On Laura Ingraham’s Fox News program, McCarthy said, “These are Chinese spies that go down to the level of a mayor. They court and help a City Councilmember become a Congressman. This Congressman now gets on the Intel Committee. They are only selected [for] the Intel Committee by the leaders of their party, meaning Nancy Pelosi … Did Nancy Pelosi know this had transpired when she put him on the Committee? … Why have [Democrats] denied certain bills that would hold China accountable, that have passed the Senate, not come to the [House] floor?”

A Pelosi spokesman said in a statement to Fox News on Wednesday that the Speaker “has full confidence in Congressman Swalwell’s service in the Congress and on the Intelligence Committee.”