Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) is refusing to say if he had sex with an accused Chinese spy who cozied up to a slew of US elected officials, including him, in a bid to infiltrate the US political system.
The 40-year-old congressman was among a group of Bay Area Democrats targeted by the honeytrap — also known as Christine Fang — who entered the US as a college student in 2011 and spent the next four years wooing the lawmakers to get close to sensitive government intelligence, according to a report in Axios.
Swalwell, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, has cooperated with federal investigations into Fang, according to his spokesperson.
“Rep. Swalwell, long ago, provided information about this person — whom he met more than eight years ago, and whom he hasn’t seen in nearly six years — to the FBI,” Swalwell’s office told Axios. “To protect information that might be classified, he will not participate in your story.”
And Swalwell’s office relied on the “classified information” line when Fox News’ Tucker Carlson questioned them about whether the California Democrat engaged in sexual relations with Fang.
“His staff replied by saying that they could not comment whether Swalwell had a sexual relationship with Fang, because that information might be, quote, classified,” Carlson said on his show Tuesday night.
Swalwell, in an interview with Politico, also sidestepped the question about how intimate he was with Fang, who intelligence officials said had sex with at least two Midwestern mayors as she tried to get information from them.
“As the story referenced, this goes back to the beginning of the last decade, and it’s something that congressional leadership knew about it,” Swalwell said, referencing his sensitive position on the House Intelligence Committee.
But while Swalwell said he has cut off all contacts with Fang, his father, Eric, and brother, Joshua, still have the honeytrap listed as a friend on their Facebook pages.
And she shared a 2016 post from Joshua that linked to a video of him and his congressman brother.
Donald Trump Jr., meanwile, questioned Swalwell’s seat on the House intelligence panel, saying the congressman should be considered a national security threat because he might have been compromised by his relationship with Fang.
“We shouldn’t be surprised that the media being silent on this issue which is truly a national security threat while this man sits on the House Intelligence Committee,” the president’s oldest son told Carlson.
Trump Jr. also noted how Swalwell was among the Democrats who constantly harped on President Trump’s alleged connections to Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign, which were subsequently deemed to be unfounded.
“I appreciate you calling out Eric Swalwell as somebody who was probably the number two recipient of these tinfoil hat brigade attacks about Russia for years,” he told Carlson.
“I find it very ironic that he was perhaps sleeping with a Chinese spy, certainly one that had infiltrated his inner circle,” Trump Jr. continued.
On Tuesday,Swalwell pointed out his criticism of the president, and tried to claim it as a reason for the information on Fang being made public.
“I’ve spoken out against him. I was on both committees that worked to impeach him. The timing feels like that should be looked at,” he told the news outlet.
“What it appears though that this person — as the story reports — was unsuccessful in whatever they were trying to do. But if intelligence officials are trying to weaponize someone’s cooperation, they are essentially seeking to do what this person was not able to do, which is to try and discredit someone,” Swalwell insisted.
In a softball interview Wednesday on CNN, he said he had not shared any information with Fang before he was notified by the feds.
“Well, I know that I didn’t, again I can’t talk too much about the details of the case even though others may have violated their oath. I’m not going to violate mine, but the Axios story made it absolutely clear that no information was ever shared,” he told the network.
Swalwell also said he was “shocked” when the FBI informed him about the threat.
“You know, just over six years ago, I was told about this individual, and then I offered to help, and I did help. I was thanked by the FBI for my help and that person is no longer in the country, and I was a little surprised to read about my cooperation in that story because the story says that, you know, there was no … there was never a suspicion of wrongdoing on my part,” he said.
“And all I did was cooperate, the FBI said that yesterday, but the wrongdoing here is that at the same time the story was being leaked out is the time that I was working on impeachment on the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees and if this is a country where people who criticize the president are going to have law enforcement information weaponized against them,” Swalwell continued.
Fang — accused of being an operative for China’s Ministry of State Security, the country’s top intelligence organization — first interacted with Swalwell when he served on the Dublin City Council in California, according to Politico.
In 2012, Swalwell defeated longtime Democratic incumbent Rep. Pete Stark, a stunning upset that made him a star member of the incoming freshman class.
A couple years later, Fang was reportedly bundling donor checks for Swalwell’s re-election campaign and also helped place an intern in his office, according to the Axios report, which cited current and former US intelligence officials.
There is no evidence of any illegal contributions being made, and Federal Election Commission records don’t indicate that Fang made any donations.
Foreign nationals are prohibited from making US political donations.
But federal investigators, who began investigating Fang based on what they considered her suspicious behavior, informed Swalwell about their concerns involving her in 2015.
At that point, Swalwell, who has not been accused of any wrongdoing, cut off all contact with the woman.
He said he first became aware that Axios was looking into Fang’s activities in July 2019, just as he was ending his brief and unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to Politico.
Fang, who left the US in 2015 amid the investigation, also reportedly attempted similar influence operations on other Bay Area politicians, including Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna, whom she volunteered for in his failed 2014 campaign.
A spokesman for Khanna told Axios he saw Fang at some political gathering but that they did not have any further contact with her and that her name doesn’t appear on any staff records.
The alleged spy also had sex with an Ohio mayor in a car, an incident caught on FBI electronic surveillance, an intelligence official said.
Another mayor “from an obscure city’’ in the Midwest called Fang his “girlfriend” at a conference in Washington, DC, in 2014, former Cupertino, Calif., Mayor Gilbert Wong told Axios.
“She was on a mission,’’ a US counter-intelligence official said of Fang — and it included plenty of seduction before the feds got wind of her antics and she disappeared.