House Leader Kevin McCarthy on Friday received a closed-door FBI briefing on Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell’s relationship with a suspected Chinese spy, saying afterwards that he thinks Swalwell should not be on the House Intelligence Committee.
“He should not be on Intel,” McCarthy said at the Capitol after the FBI briefing. “I just think there are definitely 200 other Democrats that I know could fill that place.”
Between 2011 and 2015, a suspected Chinese intelligence operative, Christine Fang, developed close relationships with Swalwell and a number of other American politicians as part of a Chinese political intelligence operation.
Last week, Republicans on the intelligence committee demanded answers on Swalwell’s ties to Fang, some even calling for an investigation and for him to be immediately removed from the committee in order to deprive him of the access to classified information that comes with membership on the high-profile panel.
McCarthy agreed, saying Swalwell has “long been disqualified” from serving on the committee because he is a “national security liability.”
“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,” McCarthy wrote in a tweet last week.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also received an FBI briefing Friday on Swalwell but did not offer any remarks to reporters as she left the briefing.
Last week, Pelosi stood by Swalwell, saying she has “full confidence” in the California Democrat’s service in Congress and on the intelligence committee.
Fang, believed to have been acting at the behest of China’s Ministry of State Security, helped fundraise for Swalwell’s 2014 re-election campaign and helped place at least one intern in the California Democrat’s office.
Fang also had romantic or sexual relationships with at least two Midwestern mayors over a three-year period. Swalwell, who was not married at the time he knew Fang, declined last week to answer questions about whether his relationship with Fang was sexual or romantic in nature.
In 2015, federal investigators briefed Swalwell on their concerns about Fang, at which point he says he severed all his ties with her. However, Swalwell’s brother and father remained connected with Fang on Facebook.