McCarthy says Swalwell should be disqualified from Intel Committee following spy report
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) took aim at Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) on Wednesday, arguing that the Democrat should no longer be able to serve on the House Intelligence Committee following reports that his office was allegedly targeted by a woman believed to be a Chinese spy.
McCarthy argued Swalwell, who took a leading role in Democrats’ impeachment efforts, is a “national security liability.”
“Rep. Swalwell has long been disqualified from serving on the Intel Committee. 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,” he tweeted on Tuesday.
Axios first reported that an alleged Chinese Ministry of State Security operative named Christine Fang, who also goes by Fang Fang, cultivated relationships with Swalwell and several other prominent California Democrats, helping with fundraising efforts and placing an intern in his office.
Swalwell told Politico he severed contact with Fang after being alerted by federal investigators of alleged suspicious activity and is not accused of any wrongdoing.
Swalwell also raised questions about the report, arguing that there was political motivation behind the story leak citing his criticisms of the Trump administration and the timing the information was released.
Fang left the country in 2015 during the FBI probe into her activities.
The California Democrat asserted there was no wrongdoing in connection with Fang or breach of sensitive information. He added that at the time, “congressional leadership knew about” the situation after he was informed years back.
“What it appears though that this person — as the story reports — was unsuccessful in whatever they were trying to do. 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 told Politico.
During an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday evening, McCarthy took a swing at Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for opting to place Swalwell in the Intelligence Committee despite having knowledge of the situation and arguing Democrats need to take a stronger position against China.
“These are Chinese spies that go down to the level of a mayor, they court and help a city council member become a congressman this congressman now gets on the Intel committee, they are only selected from the Intel Committee by the leaders of their party meaning Nancy Pelosi,” he told host Laura Ingraham.
“Nancy Pelosi is one of the Gang of Eight, along with myself — did Nancy Pelosi know this had transpired When she put him on the committee?…Why did the democrats pull out of the bipartisan China Task Force I had set up? Why did Speaker Pelosi, pull out of that? Why have they denied certain bills that would hold China accountable, that have passed us in it, not come to the floor?” he continued.
However, a spokesperson from Pelosi’s office pushed back against McCarthy’s assertions.
“McCarthy is trying to distract from kowtowing to QAnon. The Speaker has full confidence in Congressman Swalwell’s service in the Congress and on the Intelligence Committee,” the spokesman told Fox News.
Swalwell told Politico the report will not affect his ability to remain on the Intel Committee.