Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) on Monday claimed that the leak of his relationship with an alleged Chinese spy was “retaliation.”
Asked during an appearance on CNN about how much contact he had with Fang Fang, the purported spy, Swalwell said: “This is a 2015 meeting about a person that I had as a volunteer back in 2012 on the campaign. The FBI has said I did nothing wrong. Don’t take it from me. There was no wrongdoing. I’ve learned nothing new.”
The FBI hasn’t shed light on the matter publicly. The bureau briefed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) about Swalwell late last year.
Swalwell noted that House Democrat leaders, including Pelosi, have backed him on the matter and kept him on the House Intelligence Committee despite his contact with the alleged spy.
“Republicans were briefed on this conduct, that this individual was trying to do with me and many other members of Congress, back in 2015,” he added. “I think this is retaliation more than anything else.”
Republicans have tried to get Swalwell removed from the intelligence committee, noting that members have access to sensitive information.
“Unbelievable. Looks like Nancy Pelosi is keeping Rep. Eric Swalwell on the House Intelligence Committee in the new Congress—even after his ties to a Chinese spy were exposed,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said in a tweet this month.
Pelosi told reporters last month that she knew of Swalwell’s ties to Fang in 2015.
McCarthy has called Swalwell’s ties “concerning.”
Swalwell’s office hasn’t responded to requests for comment.