To be fair, this is a bit of an extreme suggestion. But also to be fair, there’s more evidence that a hostile foreign power’s intelligence service got to Eric Swalwell than there is that one got to Swalwell’s bete noire Donald Trump, too. Laura Ingraham dedicated the first third of her show last night exploring Swalwell’s apparent compromise by a Chinese spy and his arguably hypocritical rhetoric on Russiagate ever since.
Kevin McCarthy comes on at about the 13:30 mark, who answers Ingraham’s question about whether Swalwell should be removed from the House Intelligence Committee. The House Minority Leader one-ups Ingraham by asking why Swalwell hasn’t been kicked out of Congress altogether:
If you didn’t read John’s post last night on the Axios scoop regarding Swalwell and Fang Fang, be sure to do so. At the very least, Swalwell seemed pretty lax about vetting his contacts, but he did promptly act after the FBI gave him a “defensive briefing” regarding Fang Fang in 2015. That’s more than the FBI did for Trump in 2016, as the Senate Judiciary Committee concluded in August after reviewing the bureau’s internal documents:
According to these declassified documents and communications, in 2015 FBI leadership sought to give the Clinton campaign a defensive briefing before an FBI field office could pursue a FISA warrant related to a threat posed to the Clinton campaign by a foreign government. But in 2016 when there was a similar counterintelligence threat to the Trump campaign, FBI leadership failed to give a defensive briefing to the Trump campaign, opting instead to open the Crossfire Hurricane investigation and relentlessly pursue FISA warrants targeting the Trump campaign. …
“When it came to the Trump campaign, there were four counterintelligence investigations opened against Trump campaign associates. Not one time was President Trump defensively briefed about the FBI’s concerns.
“Even more egregious, when the FBI gave a generic briefing to the Trump campaign about foreign influence, not only did they fail to mention the specific concerns about Trump associates, they sent an FBI agent into the briefing to monitor President Trump and General Flynn.”
At any rate, the issue of kicking Swalwell out of Congress belongs to Congress, or the voters in Swalwell’s district. McCarthy could move to expel Swalwell rather than appear on Ingraham’s show if he took that option seriously. (He won’t, because it’s not a serious suggestion.) In two years, Swalwell’s D+20 district will get the chance to make that decision. Unless another Democrat decides to challenge him, though, don’t bet on Swalwell making an early exit.
The question about committee assignments is much better, however. McCarthy correctly wonders why Swalwell and similarly compromised Dianne Feinstein remain on intel oversight committees in Congress. Not only is there a question about the potential for extortion or leaks, but also of judgment on China in the future. It is now in the best interests of both members to downplay China’s risks as a way to minimize their own compromises; Ingraham plays a montage of Swalwell clips that suggest he’s already been doing that defensively for a while. Shouldn’t Democrats in both chambers remove compromised members from Intel assignments? It’s not as if they don’t have other members who can handle the task.
Finally, this episode shows Swalwell’s hypocrisy in bold, capital letters. Some might even call his Trump-Russia obsession a case of projection.