House Speaker Kevin McCarthy grilled a reporter Thursday for challenging him over committee appointments.
McCarthy confirmed Monday that Democratic California Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell will be removed from the House Intelligence Committee and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota will be removed from the Foreign Affairs Committee. A reporter asked McCarthy about this decision after the speaker previously said Democrats could appoint their own members to committees.
McCarthy said that Swalwell should not serve on any committee due to his alleged relationship with Chinese spy Christine Fang, also known as “Fang Fang.”
“I was very clear early on. Let me phrase something very direct to you,” McCarthy said. “If you got the briefing I got from the FBI, you wouldn’t have Swalwell on any committee. And you’re gonna tell me other Democrats couldn’t fill that slot? He cannot get a security clearance in the private sector, so would you like to give him a government clearance?”
He further criticized the press for repeatedly asking about Republican New York Rep. George Santos’ record of making false statements while giving Swalwell a pass.
“You asked me questions about [George] Santos. Have you asked the questions about Swalwell? Not only was he getting a clearance, he was inside an intel committee. He had more information than the majority of all the members. Did you ever raise that issue? No, but you should’ve.”
“The only way that they even knew” about the security risks associated with Swalwell “is when they went to nominate him to the Intel Committee, and then the FBI came and told the leadership then, ‘He’s got a problem,'” McCarthy continued. “And they kept him on. That jeopardized all of us.”
McCarthy then pointed to Schiff, who he said “openly lied to the American public” about the now-discredited Steele dossier, a document compiled by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele alleging that former President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russia. (RELATED: Rep. Lauren Boebert Goes After Rep. Eric Swalwell Over His Relationship With ‘Fang Fang, A Chinese Spy’)
Swalwell met Fang in Dublin, California, while he was serving as a member of the city council in 2011. Fang, who worked in San Francisco on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party’s Ministry of State Security, assisted in raising money for his 2014 re-election campaign and worked as an intern in his congressional office.
There is no indication that Swalwell and Fang’s relationship went beyond a political partnership, though she reportedly had romantic relationships with two mayors from the Midwest and developed close ties with other California lawmakers, including Democratic California Rep. Ro Khanna.
Shortly after he was appointed to the House Intelligence Committee, the FBI briefed Swalwell on Fang in 2015. The representative has repeatedly refused to discuss his relationship with the Chinese spy. During a 2021 appearance on CNN, he denied any wrongdoing.
In Dec. 2020, McCarthy, who was serving as minority leader at the time, publicly called for Swalwell’s removal from the committee. Then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ruled at the time that Swalwell would remain on the committee.