Democratic congressman Eric Swalwell demanded Wednesday that there be an investigation into who leaked his relationship with a Chinese spy who he is accused of having sex with while she worked as a Communist honeytrap.
The former presidential candidate claimed his relationship with Christine Fang – or Fang Fang – was leaked while he was involved with impeaching Donald Trump and that classified information was being ‘weaponized’ against him.
Swalwell, who represents a Bay area district and sits on the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committee, has refused to confirm or deny sleeping with Fang before he was tipped off in 2015 that she was a Chinese agent.
She fled the country as the FBI investigated her and her infiltration efforts which also saw her become friendly with other California politicians and have sex with two mayors from the midwest, with the encounters caught by FBI eavesdroppers.
Swalwell’s friendship with Fang was seized on by the president’s son Don Jr. who accused the Democrat of both sleeping with her and being a hypocrite for accusing him and his father of colluding with Russia.
But the Democrat said he was the victim – and suggested his high-profile pursuit of Trump was the reason he was targeted with the leak.
‘I hope it is investigated into who leaked this information,’ Swalwell told CNN on Wednesday morning. Axios, which first revealed the story, said it had been investigating it since 2019.
‘At the same time this story was being leaked out is the time that I was working on impeachment on the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees,’ the California Democratic representative said.
California Rep. Eric Swalwell said Wednesday that he wants an investigation into who leaked the information regarding his relationship with Chinese honeytrap spy Christine Fang, or Fang Fang. He claims the timing is questionable
Fang is still friends with Swalwell’s father, Eric Sr., and brother, Joshua, on Facebook
Swalwell said he cut off ties with Fang in 2015 when he was briefed by the intelligence community on concerns over Fang’s behavior with California politics – but she liked a video posted by Joshua Swalwell featuring his brother in 2016
In the video, Joshua and Eric are seen on screen in selfie-mode talking to each other about turning 35
Eric Swalwell was just one of the California Democrats Fang had a relationship with. He refuses to say whether that relationship was sexual, claiming it’s ‘classified’
THE FANG FANG MYSTERY – WHAT WE KNOW AND WHAT WE DON’T KNOW
WHO IS ‘CHRISTINE’ FANG FANG?
Fang – if that is her real name – arrived in the U.S. as a Chinese national student at Cal State East Bay in 2011 as an undergraduate – although she appeared to be in her late 20s or early 30s. She became president of the Chinese Student Association then used her position to become part of the area’s Democratic political scene.
HOW DID SHE MEET SWALWELL?
Sometime in 2012, although exactly how is unclear but she was almost ubiquitous at political events – not just Democratic ones – in the Bay area between 2013 and 2015. Swalwell won his district in 2013, and before that was a member of the Dublin City Council. Pictures of them together are all at political events in the Bay area.
DID THEY HAVE SEX?
He refuses to say, saying their relationship is a matter of national security. If the FBI was following her and bugging her, they may have a good idea of whether the two did or not – but they could not legally have eavesdropped on him as a congressman, and if they did so intentionally, that would be a major breach of the law. Swalwell was divorced from his first wife by 2012 and married his second wife, Brittany Watts, in 2016.
HOW DID THE FBI FIND HER OUT?
Fang seems to have been monitored since she was a student but exactly when the FBI surveillance operation started is unknown. It is known that she had contact with a suspected Chinese intelligence officer stationed at its San Francisco consulate. Diplomatic communications are routinely monitored.
WHO ELSE DID SHE ENSNARE?
Fang had sex with two unnamed mayors, one of an ‘obscure’ Ohio city (anywhere with a population of more than 5,000 in Ohio is a city) and one an ‘older’ mayor from the midwest. They had sex in a car but he claimed he was teaching her English. Both encounters were overheard by the FBI. She is also Facebook friends with current and former mayors and attended get-togethers for urban leaders.
WHY WASN’T SHE ARRESTED?
It is unclear but counter-intelligence operations by the FBI are often intended to simply disrupt enemy spying and get them out of the country. Fang seems to have known she was compromised when she vanished in 2015.
DID SWALWELL DO ANYTHING WRONG?
So far the leaked FBI investigation and Swalwell’s own account is clear that he acted properly, cutting ties with her when the FBI told her she was a danger to national security. However her lingering presence in his family’s Facebook friendship circuit must raise questions about the extent to which he cut ties.
WHY DIDN’T WE KNOW ABOUT THIS BEFORE?
The FBI keeps its secrets close to its vest and disrupting a spy who was targeting at least two members of Congress would have been a major coup for its counter-intelligence agents. Letting China know just how much the agency had come to understand of Fang’s activities in her four years in the U.S. helps them hone their espionage in future to make it more difficult to detect.
‘And if this is a country where people who criticize the president are going to have law enforcement information weaponized against them, that’s not a country that any of us want to live in.’
Axios reported Monday of a year long investigation leading to the conclusion that Democratic fundraiser Fang, was actually a Chinese spy.
Swalwell said that he cut ties with Fang as soon as he was alerted to her being a Chinese spy in 2015.
But the Democratic representative’s father, Eric, and brother, Joshua, are still friends with Fang on Facebook.
Notably, Fang liked a 2016 post from Joshua featuring a video of him and the congressman together even after Swalwell received a defense briefing regarding counterintelligence concerns around Fang’s behavior and activities in 2015.
Fang also still has friendship status on the social media platform with a slew of other California officials, including Representative Ro Khanna, the Democratic House member for the state’s 17th congressional district.
Swalwell said he first became aware that Axios was looking into Fang’s activities in July 2019, around the time he was ending his brief bid for the Democratic presidential nomination – during which he was a strong critic of the president.
While Fang interacted with other current members of the House – including Hawaii Democratic Representative Tulsi Gabbard, another who made a presidential bid, and Khanna – Swalwell believes the information was leaked to specifically target him.
‘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 California congressman told Politico on Tuesday. ‘The timing feels like that should be looked at.’
‘What it appears though that this person — as the story reports — was unsuccessful in whatever they were trying to do,’ Swalwell said of Fang.
‘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 said.
Swalwell said he is not compromised by his relationship with Fang, and says the controversy would not cost him 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 told Politico.
The congressman has refused to say whether he had a sexual relationship with the Chinese honeytrap spy, despite reports others had such a relationship with Fang, and he blames President Donald Trump for the revelations being leaked now.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump Jr. claimed they had a sexual relationship and described Swalwell as a ‘threat to national security’.
The Chinese national – allegedly an operative for China’s Ministry of State Security – targeted a group of Bay Area Democrats, including Swalwell.
Tucker Carlson on Tuesday night said his team had asked Swalwell’s office whether the reports of a sexual relationship with Christine Fang were true, but his office declined to comment, citing national security.
Carlson’s claim echoed that of Don Jr. on Monday, who repeated his accusations on Tuesday night.
The president’s eldest son and campaign adviser also told Carlson’s show that Swalwell was a threat to national security.
Swalwell is the most high-profile figure to be swept up in the bombshell story of Fang, who between 2011 and 2015 targeted rising political stars in the Bay Area and across the country who seemed destined for nationally important roles.
Swalwell is currently a member of the House Intelligence Committee, and played a high-profile role in the impeachment of Donald Trump.
Fang was in the United States from 2011 to 2015 posing as a Democratic fundraiser got close to Swalwell and several others
‘U.S. intelligence officials believe that Fang had a sexual relationship with Eric Swalwell,’ said Carlson on Tuesday night.
‘We asked Swalwell’s office about that directly today.
‘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.’
He described Fang as being Swalwell’s ‘companion’ who helped fundraise for him, and secure the support of the Asian American community in his constituency.
Swalwell was single at the time of Fang’s mission in the United States, and did not marry his wife Brittany until 2016.
Fang met Swalwell in 2012, when her cover was a student in the Bay Area and became involved in activism and politics, moving on to fundraise.
Swalwell’s office gave a similarly opaque answer when asked on Monday by Axios – which spent a year investigating Fang – about his relationship with her.
Axios’ story does not report any romantic or personal relationship between Swalwell and the woman – although it does say U.S. investigators discovered her having sexual relationships with two unidentified mayors from the Midwest while U.S. authorities were monitoring her.
‘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.
‘To protect information that might be classified, he will not participate in your story.’
Intelligence agencies were so concerned about Fang’s involvement in Swalwell’s office that they organized a briefing for Swalwell, and he severed ties with her immediately.
She vanished not long after, presumably back to China.
Fang and Swalwell were frequently together, with her serving as a fundraiser for him
Donald Trump Jr. discussed Swalwell’s involvement with Carlson, and claimed he is a ‘national security threat;
Swalwell is pictured with Fang at one of their numerous social engagements
Trump Jr told Carlson’s show Tuesday: ‘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 went on to point out that Swalwell called him a traitor and added: ‘I find it very ironic that he was perhaps sleeping with a Chinese spy, certainly one that had infiltrated his inner circle.
‘And what I find even scarier is that you are one of the few people as usual calling balls and strikes and calling this sort of stuff out while the rest of the media remains silent.
‘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.’
Trump Jr. had tweeted about the story repeatedly Tuesday and said, without providing evidence, that Swalwell was ‘sleeping’ with the alleged spy.
‘So Rep Swalwell who spent years saying I was an agent of Russia was literally sleeping with a Chinese spy at the time. You can’t make this stuff up. How can this compromised individual/moron continue to sit on an intelligence committee?’ he asked.
Swalwell is a member of the House Intelligence Committee and a fierce critic of Trump’s
Fang targeted rising political stars in the Bay Area using her cover as a student
He was referencing Swalwell’s repeated probing into the infamous June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton.
The story mentions nothing about Swalwell’s sex life, although it features images of him with Fang, also identified as Christine Fang, at events.
Axios does provide stunning disclosures that an ‘older’ Midwest mayor from an ‘obscure city’ referred to Fang as his ‘girlfriend’ at a 2014 conference, information attributed to Cupertino Mayor Gilbert Wong.
It also cited a current U.S. official saying Fang had a sexual encounter with an Ohio mayor in a car while it was under FBI surveillance.
There was more at play than romantic chemistry with the unidentified mayor.
Asked why Fang was interested in the mayor, he said she wanted to improve her English, the official told the outlet.
Another Trump Jr. tweet featured Swalwell warning of the dangers of potential election interference, where he blasted the administration for ‘false equivalence’ between threats by China, Iran, and Russia – which interfered in 2016.
‘It’s all starting to make sense!!!’ quipped Trump Jr.
He also retweeted former Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell, a Trump loyalist who joined one press conference to press an election lawsuit this year, that singled out Swalwell.
‘It’s the democrat playbook to accuse others of doing all the things you’re actually doing. This should be no surprise anymore,’ he said in another tweet.