House Speaker Nancy Pelosi backed Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., on Thursday in response to revelations of his interactions with an alleged Chinese spy, accusing the GOP of harping on the issue to distract from QAnon.
“I don’t have any concern about Mr. Swalwell,” Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters during her weekly press conference Thursday morning.
“I do think that it is unfortunate that [House Minority Leader Kevin] McCarthy is trying to make an issue of this. But you know what he’s trying to do. He’s trying to deflect attention from the fact that he has QAnon in his delegation over there,” Pelosi added, referring to several incoming GOP lawmakers who have previously supported the baseless conspiracy theory.
McCarthy called for Swalwell to lose his seat on the House Intelligence Committee after Axios reported that Christina Fang, an alleged Chinese spy, met Swalwell when he was a city council member in California and stayed in contact with him after he was elected to Congress.
“He is jeopardizing national security,” McCarthy said Thursday on the Fox News Channel. “When did Nancy Pelosi know of this, and why did she maintain him on the [Intelligence] Committee?”
Fang allegedly helped fundraise for Swalwell’s 2014 reelection campaign and was helping place an intern in his office, Axios reported Tuesday.
Swalwell said he cut off all contact with Fang once alerted by the FBI, and has not been accused of any illegal wrongdoing.
Republicans criticized Swalwell’s past connection to Fang, given the lawmaker’s consistent criticism of President Donald Trump during the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, which found that the president and his campaign did not collude with the Russian government.
“It was all Russia, Russia, Russia,” said Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, on Thursday on Fox News. “He showed no concern about China, which if he went through an event of some type, then he should be greatly concerned about China, and we didn’t hear from him on that.”
“Oh, my gosh, talk about karma,” said Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, on Fox News. “If this doesn’t show that God has a sense of humor, what else does?”
Swalwell responded, insisting that the Republican attacks are in response to his frequent criticism of Trump.
“To do that against a critic of the president, they may think they’re going to silence me,” Swalwell said Wednesday on CNN. “They are not going to silence me, but what they are going to do is, they are going to make others think twice when they are asked to sit down and provide defensive information about people like this.”
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