09:29 GMT28 January 2021
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    GOP House minority leader Kevin McCarthy claimed that alleged Chinese spy Christine Fang helped to catapult Democrat Eric Swalwell from the city council of his small California home town to the powerful Select Committee on Intelligence in just five years.

    The US House Republican minority leader has said that Democrat Eric Swalwell should never have sat on the House intel panel in light of allegations that he was involved with a purported Chinese spy.

    Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Friday that he had been briefed by the FBI – following two false starts – with Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi regarding California representative Swalwell and his relationship with alleged Chinese agent Fang Fang, also known as Christine Fang.

    "What I learned today and anyone who was in that room with me would never allow Swalwell to be on the intel committee or to continue to be on it," McCarthy said

    “I’ve been asking for this briefing since the story broke publicly,” he stressed. “I had two different FBI briefings scheduled that were cancelled on the day."

    McCarthy said that he learned that Fang was the 40-year-old Swalwell's "bundler", or Svengali. The leader said Fang helped chart Swalwell's meteoric rise from city councilor in his home town of Dublin, California – population 46,000 – in 2010 to Congress in 2013, then on to the prestigious Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in just his second two-year term.

    Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., listens as former White House national security aide Fiona Hill, and David Holmes, a U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, during a public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents.
    © AP Photo / Andrew Harnik
    Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., listens as former White House national security aide Fiona Hill, and David Holmes, a U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, during a public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents.

    “It wasn’t that this spy, known as a spy, got to know him as a congressman, but got to know him as a city councilman," McCarthy said. "They called her a bundler in the press [...] got him into Congress. And within his second term, he got probably one of the most powerful committees."

    He stated that, unlike other Congressional bodies whose members are elected by their peers, Intelligence Committee members are appointed by their party leaders in the House – himself for the Republicans and Pelosi for the Democrats. Pelosi, now 80, has continuously led Democrats in the House since 2003. 

    McCarthy also suggested that the irony of Swalwell's promotion of debunked conspiracy theories about President Donald Trump and his aides colluding with Russian officials given that the Congressman was now alleged to have cultivated far more intimate ties with Beijing.

    One of the most titillating details of the Swalwell saga emerged two weeks ago, when website Axios reported that Fang had a "sexual encounter" with an unnamed mayor of an Ohio town some time between 2011 and 2015 in a car that had been bugged by the FBI, while an older mayor from a "midwestern" town had previously referred to her as his "girlfriend".

    Swalwell has refused to confirm or deny whether or not he also had sex with Fang, claiming that the information is "classified". He has admitted Fang raised money for his election campaign, but claimed that he never shared sensitive information with her.

    "Rep. Swalwell, long ago, provided information about this person — whom he met more than eight years ago, and whom he hasn’t seen in nearly six years — to the FBI. To protect information that might be classified, he will not participate in your story," a statement from Swalwell's office said, cited by the Daily Mail.

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    Tags:
    Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), FBI, Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, Kevin McCarthy, Eric Swalwell
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