Rep. Eric Swalwell lashed out at President Donald Trump in an interview with Politico Tuesday, accusing Trump of leaking the explosive allegations to Axios because Swalwell remains one of Trump’s most vocal critics.
The Daily Wire reported Tuesday that Swalwell was among Chinese national Christine Fang’s targets and that Justice Department officials had to warn Swalwell off an ongoing business relationship with Fang after discovering that Fang was cultivating ties to political figures who had the potential to end up as national political candidates.
Fang “targeted up-and-coming local politicians in the Bay Area and across the country who had the potential to make it big on the national stage” through “campaign fundraising, extensive networking, personal charisma, and romantic or sexual relationships,” Axios reported exclusively.
“Amid a widening counterintelligence probe, federal investigators became so alarmed by Fang’s behavior and activities that around 2015 they alerted Swalwell to their concerns — giving him what is known as a defensive briefing,” the outlet noted without going into specifics about Swalwell’s personal relationship with Fang — only that she bundled campaign money for the California Democrat and served as an intern in his office.
“Swalwell immediately cut off all ties to Fang,” the report added, “according to a current U.S. intelligence official, and he has not been accused of any wrongdoing.”
In an interview with Politico, Swalwell accused Trump of leaking his communication with the Department of Justice to Axios, suggesting that the Trump administration was seeking retribution for Swalwell’s high-profile criticism and his role leading an investigation into the administration’s ties to Russia and Ukraine that eventually led to impeachment proceedings.
“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,” the California Democrat 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’s relationship to Fang, though, was apparently so close that Justice Department officials found it necessary to intervene, and the allegations of such a close relationship — particularly with regard to fundraising — are central to Axios’ report of Fang attempting to peddle the influence of and create inroads for the Chinese government.
Oddly enough, Swalwell does not seem concerned about his relationship with Fang impacting his position on the House Intelligence Committee, even though Fang was seeking classified information that Swalwell was arguably privy to.
“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, adding that he plans on remaining on the House Intelligence Committee.
Republicans, on Wednesday, demanded answers from Democratic leadership, particularly Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) over whether she, indeed, was aware that Swalwell had an ongoing, friendly relationship with a Chinese national, and whether Swalwell’s relationship was as innocent as he claims. Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) also suggested, in an interview with Fox Wednesday, that he would direct questions to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
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