U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) made headlines late last year following reports that the lawmaker had personal ties to a suspected Chinese spy.
In response, various Republicans voiced concerns and called for Swalwell to be ousted from the House Intelligence Committee — but their Democratic colleagues have effectively shut down that effort.
“Based on the briefing”
According to Fox News, every member of the House Democratic caucus voted on Thursday to table a resolution put forward by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) seeking to remove the Democratic legislator for the Intel panel.
In a tweet last Friday, McCarthy made his case, writing: “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.”
For his part, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) issued a harsh rebuke of his Republican counterpart’s proposal, calling it a “frivolous, political exercise” meant to “distract from House Republicans’ failure to hold their own members accountable for inappropriate and outrageous actions.”
Hoyer’s statement went on to assert that the Democratic majority on Capitol Hill “has been steadfast in opposing malign actions by China,” which he said would not be impacted by the GOP effort to kick Swalwell from the committee.
“Americans are tired of hyper-partisanship and ‘gotcha’ gimmickry,” the Democratic leader said. “Instead, let’s work together, in a bipartisan way, to achieve results for the people.”
“Eager to continue”
Swalwell spoke out in his own defense last week, making it clear that he had no intentions of going anywhere despite a renewed focus on his association with Christine Fang, whose suspected activities on behalf of China led the FBI to caution him about her in 2015.
Reports indicate he immediately cut ties with Fang and has not been personally accused of any wrongdoing in the matter.
“I’m eager to continue the important work of protecting Americans and supporting the hard-working heroes of our Intelligence Community, and I thank [House] Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and Chairman [Adam] Schiff for their support and confidence,” he said.
When the story made headlines in December, Pelosi was quick to express continued defense of Swalwell and his position on the committee.
“I don’t have any concerns about Mr. Swalwell,” she said at the time, though she acknowledged “that we should be seeing what influence the Chinese” exert in the U.S. “in terms of their undue influence in universities in our country, and the overtures they try to make to members of our Congress.”