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Tipsheet

Swalwell Has a Theory About Who Was Behind Bombshell Report on His Ties to Suspected Chinese Spy

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

California Rep. Eric Swalwell put forth a wild conspiracy about the bombshell Axios report published this week detailing his ties to a suspected Chinese spy, suggesting President Trump was behind the story as payback for his repeated criticism of him over Russia.

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According to Axios’s yearlong investigation, the alleged spy, Fang Fang or Christine Fang, developed ties to local and national politicians, including Swalwell, between 2011 and 2015.

“Through campaign fundraising, extensive networking, personal charisma, and romantic or sexual relationships with at least two Midwestern mayors, Fang was able to gain proximity to political power, according to current and former U.S. intelligence officials and one former elected official,” Axios reported, adding that while senior intelligence officials don’t believe she ever handled classified information, “there were some really, really sensitive people that were caught up” in the alleged spy’s network. 

She helped fundraise for Swalwell during his 2014 re-election campaign and placed at least one intern in his office. 

Federal investigators had to step in to brief the California Democrat about Fang’s activities and he “immediately cut off all ties to Fang.” She fled the country in 2015 and Swalwell is not accused of wrongdoing. 

While his office declined to comment for the story “to protect information that might be classified,” the congressman, who was fond of pushing the Russia collusion narrative during the Trump years, did offer his take on who may be behind the report. 

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“I’ve been a critic of the president. 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 Politico on Tuesday.

“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,” he added. 

Politico said Swalwell “refused to discuss his relationship with Fang,” although he was confident the incident would not affect his seat on the Intelligence Committee. 

“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.

Responding to the Politico story, former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell said the "reporter was duped."

Others had a different idea for why Axios might report the controversy. 

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