17 House GOP members send letter to Pelosi urging Swalwell's removal from Intel Committee
Questions ‘need to be asked’ about Swalwell’s alleged Chinese spy ties: Rep. Scalise
Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., discusses Bill Barr’s resignation, Swalwell Chinese spy scandal on ‘Fox & Friends.’
A group of 17 Republican House members sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi Tuesday urging her to “immediately remove” Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell from the House Intelligence Committee.
It comes in response to reports over his past ties to a spy from China, who posed as a college student, networked with up-and-coming American officials and allegedly slept with a pair of Midwestern mayors.
“Because of Rep. Swalwell's position on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, his close interactions with Chinese intelligence services, however unintentional they may be, are an unacceptable national security risk,” the letter reads.
Noting that the committee “handles some of the most sensitive information our government possesses—information critical to our national defense," the letter continued, "we urge you to immediately remove Rep. Swalwell from his position on the House Intelligence Committee.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference at the Capitol, Dec. 10, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Representatives who signed the letter include Minority Whip Steve Scalise (La.), and Reps. Jim Banks (Ind.), Chip Roy (Texas), Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Paul Gosar (Ariz.).
They noted that Pelosi blasted former Attorney General Jeff Sessions as “not fit to serve” in 2017 after reports emerged that he failed to disclose to Congress a pair of meetings with the Russian ambassador. She called for him to resign at the time.
Swalwell Letter by Fox News
“Rep. Swalwell withheld information for five years from the House Intelligence Committee about an ongoing Chinese espionage operation targeted at him and his own colleagues,” the letter reads. “Obviously, Rep. Swalwell’s interactions with a Chinese spy were more dangerous and unusual than AG Session’s meetings with a Russian diplomat.”
FBI STEPPED IN AFTER SUSPECTED CHINESE SPY GOT CLOSE TO SWALWELL, OTHER POLITICIANS, REPORT FINDS
The GOP House members argued that Swalwell has used his position on the House Intelligence Committee to level attacks on “President Donald Trump’s unproven ties to Russia” while refusing to explain his own ties to the China spy report.
Fang Fang, also known as Christine Fang, disguised as an exchange student, came to the U.S. to build relationships with up-and-coming politicians on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party, Axios reported last week. One of her highest-profile targets was Swalwell, whom she met when he was still a city councilman in the East Bay city of Dublin almost a decade ago.
She reportedly used student extracurricular activities at California State University, East Bay, to network with and befriend local officials – and eventually branched out nationally, allegedly having romantic encounters with two Midwestern mayors.
For his part, Swalwell is not accused of any wrongdoing, and after the FBI gave him a defensive briefing about Fang’s suspected activities in 2015, he cut her off. Fang is not suspected of accessing classified information.
INTELLIGENCE EXPERT WEIGHS IN ON WHAT A SPY COULD GATHER BY LURKING ON FACEBOOK FRIENDS LISTS
But his father and brother, along with a handful of other local politicians, remained Facebook friends with her until reporting on the connections surfaced last week. That likely gave China a stream of data to monitor for years, according to intelligence experts.
Pelosi said last week that congressional leaders of both parties were briefed on the incident in spring 2015.
"l do think that it's unfortunate that Mr. McCarthy is trying to make an issue of this when we all found out at the same time," Pelosi said, referring to the House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy.
McCarthy did not sign the letter, but has called for Swalwell’s resignation from the Intelligence Committee.
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