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.
“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.
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.