“Pelosi just reappointed Eric Swalwell to the Intelligence Committee. Based on the briefing she and I received together, Swalwell should not be on the panel in charge of guarding our nation’s secrets,” McCarthy said of his fellow Californian. “Next week, I will offer a resolution to remove him from the Intel Committee.”
Swalwell has been a constant target of GOP lawmakers since a December 2020 Axios report said a suspected Chinese intelligence operative helped fundraise for the California Democrat during his 2014 reelection campaign. According to the report, Christine Fang, or Fang Fang, allegedly targeted politicians – primarily in California but also including two Midwestern mayors – before leaving the country in 2015, when she became the subject of a federal investigation.
In his tweet, McCarthy was referring to a classified briefing he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were reportedly given about Fang after the Axios report was published.
Swalwell first met Fang in 2012, when he served on the Dublin City Council, according to Politico.
However, U.S. officials found nothing illegal in Fang’s fundraising for Swalwell and don’t believe she received or passed on any classified information, according to the Axios report. And when federal investigators, alarmed by Fang’s activities, debriefed Swalwell in 2015 on their concerns about her, Swalwell immediately cut all ties to her, the report said.
“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,” Swalwell’s office told Axios in response to the report.
McCarthy’s call to remove Swalwell comes a month after he vowed to retaliate against Democrats when the House stripped freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., from her committee assignments after old videos and posts emerged of her making racist comments and promoting conspiracy theories.
The GOP leader said Democrats would “regret” removing Greene and named several of his Democratic colleagues that Republicans would remove if they controlled the House, including Swalwell.
Pelosi just reappointed Eric Swalwell to the Intelligence Committee. Based on the briefing she and I received together, Swalwell should not be on the panel in charge of guarding our nation’s secrets.
Next week, I will offer a resolution to remove him from the Intel Committee.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) March 12, 2021
In order to remove him, Republicans would need at least six Democrats to vote with them, which is very unlikely.
A senior Democratic aide told CBS News that McCarthy’s resolution is a “waste of time” and would either be tabled or dismissed.
While Swalwell didn’t reply directly to McCarthy about removing him from the committee, he hit back with a stinging reply to a tweet minority leader posted about President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 relief package.
“Let’s just say the quiet part out loud: there is no dumber man in America than this loser,” Swalwell tweeted Friday.
McCarthy’s push to remove Swalwell isn’t the first-time members of the GOP have called for the Democrat to be removed from the Intelligence Committee. After the Axios report published in December, members of the GOP immediately called for Swalwell to be removed from the House Intelligence Committee.
Several House Republicans went as far as sending House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a letter asking her to remove Swalwell from the committee, stating that his relationship with Fang, although unintentional, had created “an unacceptable national security risk.”
Pelosi refused to remove Swalwell, later adding that she didn’t have any concerns about him.
“I don’t have any concerns about Mr. Swalwell,” Pelosi said during her weeklynews conference. “In terms of Mr. Swalwell, in the spring of 2015, the leadership of the House and the committee were informed that overtures from a Chinese person were being made to members of Congress. When that was made known to the members of Congress it was over.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kevin McCarthy to call for Eric Swalwell’s removal from top committee