The Democrats' Eric Swalwell problem

In the next year, 2016, Swalwell started accusing the Trump campaign of collusion with Russia. He proposed a 9/11-style commission to investigate the alleged influence of Russian spy agencies with candidate Donald Trump and top members of his campaign. No one in the public knew it at the time, but Swalwell had just recently had some sort of involvement with a spy himself — one the FBI had actually warned him about. As 2016 and 2017 went on, Swalwell became one of the leading voices attacking President Trump and his Republican defenders on the debunked Russia issue.

Now, Republicans look back on those days and are amazed that Swalwell would play the role of attack dog when he himself had been in close contact with a foreign spy. “Democrats spent four years accusing Republicans of cozying up to foreign spies when the Democrats themselves were doing that,” said Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee, in a statement. “Now my Republican colleagues are asking me if there are Democrat pee tapes and if they’re being blackmailed with naked pictures of their party leaders. Maybe all the Democrats’ accusations stem from what’s really happening to them.”

There’s a lot of history in that statement. The “pee tape” remark is obviously a reference to the Steele dossier, which, among other false allegations, spread the story that private citizen Donald Trump had watched as prostitutes performed a kinky sex act in a Moscow hotel room in 2013 as Russian intelligence services filmed the entire episode.