Democrat Eric Swalwell, who was one of the most vocal spreads of the debunked Russia conspiracy theory, should be removed from the House Intelligence Committee after his years long relationship with a Chinese spy was revealed, a number of lawmakers argue.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Tuesday night wondered whether Democratic congressional leaders were aware of Swalwell’s reported links to Fang, a Chinese spy.
“Remember what Swalwell said. He accused the president of everything that he did, by lying to the American public and sitting on the Intel Committee,” McCarthy said on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”
“Not only should he be removed from the Intel, he should be removed from Congress as well.”
Swalwell, a onetime Democratic presidential candidate, sits on the House Intelligence Committee, raising concerns about whether he’s compromised because of the alleged links to the spy.
Requests for comment sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) weren’t immediately returned. Swalwell staffers didn’t return an email or pick up the phone.
According to Axios, Fang helped Swalwell raise funds for his 2014 re-election campaign and helped place at least one intern in the Congressman’s office.
The office told Axios in a statement: “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. To protect information that might be classified, he will not participate in your story.”
Swalwell spoke with Politico but refused to discuss his links to Fang. He said he didn’t think he’d lose his spot in the House Intelligence Committee.
“As the story referenced, this goes back to the beginning of the last decade, and it’s something that congressional leadership knew about it,” Swalwell said.
During an appearance on CNN on Wednesday, Swalwell said he couldn’t talk about the details of the situation, “but the ‘Axios’ story made it absolutely clear that no information was ever shared, except the people who did share classified information were the people who leaked this story.”
“I hope none of my colleagues ever find themselves in the position that I find myself in by having to sit down with the FBI because someone who had helped the campaign was trying to do this. But I hope every person would want to help their country just as I did,” he added.
A Pelosi spokesperson said in a statement to news outlets, “The Speaker has full confidence in Congressman Swalwell’s service in the Congress and on the Intelligence Committee.”
Others joined McCarthy in urging Swalwell be removed from the committee, or step down.
“He should step down from the House Intelligence Committee immediately. Our national security is at stake!” Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) said on Twitter.
“As a Member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep Swalwell has access to highly classified national security material. Swalwell has been compromised by at least one China Communist Party operative. He must be removed from HPSCI immediately,” Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) added.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the Senate Judiciary chairman, said the report “Shows extremely bad judgement and rank hypocrisy on the part of Congressman Swalwell who led the charge in the Russia Hoax and impeachment.”
It also showed a “double standard” in defensive briefings from the FBI, which allegedly gave one to Swalwell about Fang but neglected to give one about President Donald Trump regarding Russia, Graham asserted.
“Democrats get defensive briefings when there are concerns about foreign influence, but when it came to President @realDonaldTrump they used a counter-intelligence investigation to spy on his campaign,” he wrote in a tweet.