Despite one’s suspected Chinese spy, Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries asked in a letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Saturday that two “eminently competent members” be reappointed to the Committee on Intelligence.
According to Jeffries, Democrats from California Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell have been overseeing the country’s intelligence community for over 20 years.
McCarthy wants to deny Swalwell, Schiff, and Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar positions on the House Intelligence Committee, so the demand comes at the right time.
McCarthy recently disclosed to Punchbowl News, “A security clearance for Swalwell is impossible in the private sector. I won’t provide him a security clearance from the government.”
McCarthy also asserted that Schiff “has misled the American public too many times,” and he claimed that Omar’s vocal criticism of Israel verges on antisemitism.
In response to Axios’ initial reporting on Swalwell’s connections to alleged Chinese spy Christine Fang, also known as Fang Fang, House Republicans drafted a motion to dismiss Swalwell from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The Democrats introduced the resolution.
According to Axios, Fang targeted aspiring politicians, including Swalwell, and federal investigators informed Swalwell of his actions in 2015. The article stated that Swalwell subsequently severed all ties with Fang and was not charged with any misconduct.
According to intelligence officials, Fang allegedly participated in Swalwell’s fundraising efforts for his 2014 reelection campaign, even though she did not provide any money.
Over several years, she also had multiple interactions with Swalwell and set up an internship in his office. She reportedly left the country and went back to China.
Swalwell maintains that he did nothing improper. This month, along with Jeffries’ appeal, Schiff, Swalwell, and Omar made official pleas to the Steering Committee to be reinstated as members of the House Foreign Affairs and Intelligence committees.
Jeffries stated, “It is my understanding that you intend to buck the established House practice of giving weight to the recommendations of the minority party Intelligence Committee and deny seats to Ranking Member Schiff and Representative Swalwell.
The Intelligence Committee’s severe and sober work is undermined by the refusal of seats to properly elected members of the House Democratic Caucus.
He added that during the violent revolt and attack on the Capital, two members of the 117th Congress explicitly instigated violence against their fellow committee members when they were expelled from their committees in a bipartisan vote.
Given that Representatives Schiff and Swalwell have never displayed violent ideas or actions, Jeffries said, “it does not serve as precedent or basis for the expulsion of Representatives Schiff and Swalwell.”
Swalwell argued for his reappointment by highlighting his accomplishments on the intelligence committee. He was well aware, however, that the House Speaker might have different ideas.
Swalwell wrote in a letter on Jan. 5: “…After speaking with Leader Jeffries, I write to request that I return as a Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.”
“There is no foundation for trying to remove me, Adam Schiff, or Ilhan Omar from our committee assignments, and it is not for the Speaker to decide to remove Members from committees based on manufactured stories or political vengeance,” said Omar.
The conflict occurs as White House officials continue to avoid questions about President Biden‘s handling of sensitive information over decades, which is the subject of a controversy that is only developing.