Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Dec. 16 called on Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) to hold a press conference to explain his relationship with a suspected Chinese Communist Party (CCP) spy.
A report by Axios on Dec. 7 claimed that the alleged CCP spy, known as Fang Fang or Christine Fang, built up an extensive network of contacts with up-and-coming politicians in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Swalwell. The report said Swalwell cut ties with her after investigators gave him a “defensive briefing,” and that he provided information about her to the FBI.
However, citing the need “to protect information that might be classified,” Swalwell refused to disclose details of his relationship with Fang, Axios reported.
“Eric Swalwell says he’s a victim in all of this. If that’s the case, what he should do is come forward and have a no-holds-barred press conference and explain exactly what his relationship with this Chinese spy was,” Cotton, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told “Fox & Friends” in an interview on Dec. 16.
Cotton accused Swalwell of “hiding behind the cloak of classified information” and called for transparency.
“There’s nothing classified about his fundraising practices or his social life,” Cotton said. “The fact that he and Nancy Pelosi won’t come clean and explain exactly what his relationship with this Chinese spy was suggests that there is some information there that they don’t want to reveal.”
The suspected spy, Fang, reportedly raised money for Swalwell and placed an intern in his office.
Swalwell, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, earlier told CNN that he didn’t do anything wrong and accused Republicans of trying to weaponize the Axios report.
“I was told about this individual, and I offered to help,” he told CNN. “All I did was cooperate, and the FBI said that yesterday.”
The Axios report cited a U.S. intelligence official saying that Swalwell hadn’t been accused of any wrongdoing. But Cotton said more transparency is needed around the case, given that Swalwell, as an Intelligence Committee member, is privy to sensitive information.
“Obviously, any foreign adversary would love to have access to that information,” Cotton said.
Top Republicans in the House on Dec. 15 called for Swalwell’s removal from the committee. In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the lawmakers, including House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), said Swalwell’s contacts posed a threat to national security.
“Because of Rep. Swalwell’s position on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, his close interactions with Chinese intelligence services, however unintentional they may be, are an unacceptable national security risk,” they wrote.
Pelosi’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment. Swalwell’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment after the Axios report was published.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.