OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Rep. Eric Swalwell is lashing out after being removed from the House Intelligence Committee by Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) last week over allegations that a previous relationship he had with a suspected Chinese spy disqualified him from serving on the panel.
In an appearance Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” the California Democrat was asked by host Dana Bash “Did you put yourself in a vulnerable position in any way, so that this alleged Chinese spy could have benefited or even learned American secrets?”
“Absolutely not,” Swalwell said in response. “But, Dana, don’t take my word for it. Take the FBI’s word for it. They never talk about ongoing investigations. And former Chairman [Adam] Schiff knows this, as a member of the Gang of Eight. Three different times, they came out and said two things. All I did was help them, also, I was never under any suspicion of wrongdoing.
“This is some Bakersfield B.S. It’s Kevin McCarthy weaponizing his ability to commit this political abuse because he perceives me, just like Mr. Schiff and Ms. Omar, as an effective political opponent,” Swalwell added.
Democrat Eric Swalwell says he did not compromise national security through his past relationship with a Chinese spy. pic.twitter.com/CvTVzsdtbi
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 29, 2023
Here’s a partial transcript:
DANA BASH, CNN HOST: On that, Congressman, you were also removed by Republicans from the Intelligence Committee. What the speaker said about you is that, beginning in 2012, a suspected Chinese spy developed ties to you and to your office, even put an intern there, raised campaign funds for you.
You say very clearly you cut off ties with this person back in 2015 when you found out. You cooperated with the FBI. But the bottom line question is this. Did you put yourself in a vulnerable position in any way, so that this alleged Chinese spy could have benefited or even learned American secrets?
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Absolutely not.
But, Dana, don’t take my word for it. Take the FBI’s word for it. They never talk about ongoing investigations. And former Chairman Schiff knows this, as a member of the Gang of Eight. Three different times, they came out and said two things. All I did was help them and, also, I was never under any suspicion of wrongdoing.
But, more than that, Chairman — Speaker Boehner was briefed on this investigation. He could have removed me, just as Speaker McCarthy did. He didn’t. Devin Nunes was the chair of the Intelligence Committee, never made a public peep about this. Paul Ryan would have access to the same investigation, reappointed me to the committee.
Donald Trump, who villainized me at every rally, more access to classified information than any person who walked the earth, if he could have weaponized that to go after me, you know he would have. There’s nothing there.
I did what every American should have. This is some Bakersfield B.S. It’s Kevin McCarthy weaponizing his ability to commit this political abuse, because he perceives me, just like Mr. Schiff and Ms. Omar, as an effective political opponent.
On the same program, Bash took Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) to task over past false statements he made regarding former President Donald Trump and Russia during a revealing interview on Sunday.
Schiff, who was booted off his seat on the House Select Committee on Intelligence by Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) amid years of allegations by Republicans that he misused information for political purposes, was put on the defensive by Bash as he pushed back on statements he’s made on the record.
“You said that there was direct evidence of the fact that Donald Trump colluded with Russia back in 2016. Special counsel Robert Mueller said in his report — quote — ‘The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government,’” Bash pointed out. “Republicans argue that’s proof that you used your position on the Intelligence Committee to intentionally mislead Americans, which is why you should not be on that committee.”
Schiff denied that Mueller’s report actually said that — though it did — and countered that Trump’s 2016 campaign manager shared internal polling information with a Russian agent. “To most Americans, that is collusion,” said Schiff. “Now, whether it’s proof beyond a reasonable doubt of the crime of conspiracy — that’s what Bob Mueller was talking about — I have always distinguished between the two.”