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Leaders in the US House of Representatives received a briefing from the FBI about Representative Eric Swallowell’s ties to a suspected Chinese spy, as a report on his association with women prompted Republicans to demand the removal of a California Democrat from his position on the House Intelligence Committee.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was briefed on Friday. McCarthy said Request the meeting.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, McCarthy said the briefing “only raised more questions. The only thing that has been basically answered: It shouldn’t be on Intel.”
McCarthy is one of the leading Republicans who called for Swallowell’s removal from the high-level committee after the Who Axios Swallowell and other California politicians have been targeted for years to obtain information by a suspected Chinese spy. Axios reported that US officials do not believe Swallowell or others gave the woman classified information.
The top House leaders – Pelosi and McCarthy – decide which lawmakers are appointed to the Intelligence Committee.
“There are definitely 200 other Democrats that I know could fill this place long before this individual takes over,” said McCarthy, who described China as “an adversary in many shapes and forms.” He did not give further details.
A Swallowell office spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment about the FBI briefing and McCarthy’s comments. Nor did the FBI immediately respond.
Pelosi did not comment after Friday’s meeting. When asked about the matter last week, she said that the House leadership and the Intelligence Committee were informed in 2015 that “initiatives by a Chinese person are being presented to members of Congress,” but that contact ended as soon as they learned.
“I have no qualms about Mr. Swallowell,” Pelosi said.
In an interview with CNN earlier this week, Swallowell said he was “shocked” to learn of the person’s relationships at the time. He said, “A little over six years ago, I was told about this person. Then I offered to help. And I provided help.
“I was a little surprised to read about my collaboration on that [Axios] The story is because the story says there was no doubt about wrongdoing on my part, and all I did was cooperate. “
Swallowell cited his work on impeachment of President Trump as a possible trigger for the leaked information.
“If this is a country where people who criticize the president will get law enforcement information as a weapon against them, then this is not a country any of us want to live in. I hope it will be investigated to find out who leaked this information,” he told the network.
Since the news emerged early last week, Republicans have lambasted Swallowell for being the victim of a spying operation, with some even calling for his resignation from Congress.
In a White House press briefing earlier this week, Press Secretary Kylie McCannani said of Swallowell: “After engaging with this spy for years, Swallowell has become hypocritical one of the main instigators of the Russian collusion hoax and the impeachment hoax.”