House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) may have just made a fatal mistake — one that could cost Democrats deeply in the near future.
According to Fox News, Pelosi has decided to stand behind fellow California Democrat Eric Swalwell rather than reprimand him amid reports of ties between the congressman and a suspected Chinese spy.
“The Speaker has full confidence in Congressman Swalwell’s service in the Congress and on the Intelligence Committee,” Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, told Fox on Wednesday.
This likely means that Swalwell’s position on the House Intelligence Committee is safe, since it is Pelosi herself who gets to determine committee membership. Pelosi first appointed Swalwell to the Intel panel in 2015 — and it appears that he will be allowed to remain on that committee until there is new leadership.
Swalwell under fire
Swalwell was a major figure in pushing claims of improprieties involving President Donald Trump and countries like Ukraine and Russia. But now, the Democrat is back in the spotlight for his own nefarious foreign ties.
A report from Axios first revealed that Swalwell was infiltrated by a Chinese national named Fang Fang or Christine Fang.
According to Axios, Fang met Swalwell through the Chinese Student Association, and, by 2014, she had developed “close ties” with his office. She participated in Swalwell’s 2014 re-election campaign, she interacted with him at many events over the span of several years, and she placed at least one intern in his office, the report alleged.
In 2015, however, the FBI alerted Swalwell to concerns it had about Fang, and that is when Swalwell is said to have cut off all ties with her. Accordingly, the FBI does not believe that Swalwell did anything wrong, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
“A national security threat”
But that’s not how Republicans are seeing it. “This is a national security threat,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said in a Thursday interview with Fox.
“Now we have Eric Swalwell, who’s been swindled by the Chinese, but what’s even more interesting here is why did he attack the American Director of Intelligence John Ratcliffe’s report talking about the expansion of China spying throughout…just last week,” McCarthy added, according to Fox.
Reports indicated that McCarthy and other GOP members of the House want to see Swalwell removed from his committee assignments in light of the news, but it seems Pelosi is standing her ground on this one.
The only question left is how long it will take for the speaker’s defense of Swalwell to come back and bite her.