Swalwell suggests White House leaked Chinese spy story in retaliation for criticism

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) suggested Tuesday that a report that he was targeted by a woman believed to be a Chinese spy was leaked by the Trump administration as retaliation for his criticisms.

Axios reported Monday that the woman, known as both Fang Fang and Christine Fang, cultivated relationships with Swalwell and several other prominent California Democrats. She reportedly helped place an intern in his office and served as a donation bundler for his 2014 reelection campaign.

Swalwell, who briefly ran for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination in 2019, is not accused of any wrongdoing in connection with Fang and immediately severed contact with her after U.S. intelligence briefed him on their suspicions of her in 2015. He did not participate in the Axios story, with his office telling the publication classified information was involved.

“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 told Politico. “The timing feels like that should be looked at.”

“What it appears though that this person — as the story reports — was unsuccessful in whatever they were trying to do,” he added. “But if intelligence officials are trying to weaponize someone’s cooperation, they are essentially seeking to do what this person was not able to do, which is to try and discredit someone.”

Swalwell, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, is one of the president’s most vocal critics in Congress. He told Politico he learned Axios was working on the report in July 2019, around the same time he ended his brief presidential bid.

Swalwell also told the publication that the Fang story would have no effect on his position on the House panel.

“As the story referenced, this goes back to the beginning of the last decade, and it’s something that congressional leadership knew about it,” he said in the interview.

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