Kevin McCarthy, House Speaker, grilled a reporter for questioning him about committee appointments.
McCarthy confirmed Monday that Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff, Democratic California Representatives, will be removed by the House Intelligence Committee. Ilhan Omar from Minnesota will also be removed form the Foreign Affairs Committee. McCarthy was asked by a reporter about his decision, after he had previously stated that Democrats could appoint their members to committees.
McCarthy stated that Swalwell should be barred from any committee because of his alleged relationships with Chinese spy Christine Fang (also known as “Fang Fang”)
“I was very clear from the beginning. McCarthy stated, “Let me say something very directly to you.” “If you had the FBI briefing, Swalwell wouldn’t be on any committee. You’re going to tell me that other Democrats can’t fill this slot? You would like to grant him a government clearance, since he cannot obtain a security clearance from the private sector.
He also criticized the media for asking repeatedly about Republican New York Rep. George Santos’ record of making false statements, while giving Swalwell a pass.
“You asked me questions about [George] Santos. Swalwell: Have you ever asked these questions? He was not only getting a clearance but he was also inside an intelligence committee. He knew more than most of the other members. Have you ever raised this issue? You should have.
McCarthy said that Swalwell was the only way they knew about security risks. He was nominated to the Intel Committee by them. The FBI then came to tell the leadership, “He’s got an issue.” They kept him on. This put all of us in danger.
McCarthy pointed to Schiff and said that Schiff “openly lied” to the American people about the now-discredited Steele document, which was compiled by Christopher Steele, an ex-MI6 agent, alleging that Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign conspired with Russia.
Swalwell met Fang while Swalwell was serving on the Dublin City Council in 2011. Fang worked in San Francisco for the Chinese Communist Party’s Ministry of State Security. He also worked as an intern at his congressional office.
Although Swalwell and Fang have not been shown to have had a relationship beyond a political partnership in the past, she is reported to have had close relationships with two mayors of the Midwest as well as other California legislators, including Democratic California Rep. Ro Khanna.
Swalwell was briefed by the FBI about Fang shortly after his appointment to the House Intelligence Committee in 2015. He has refused to talk about his relationship with the Chinese spy repeatedly. During a CNN appearance in 2021, he denied any wrongdoing.
McCarthy, at the time serving as minority leader, called for Swalwell to be removed from the committee in Dec. 2020. Nancy Pelosi, then-Speaker of the House, ruled that Swalwell would continue to be on the committee.