On Tuesday, Axios reported that a suspected Chinese spy got close to Rep. Eric Swalwell early in his political career, and separately slept with two unnamed US mayors, as part of a yearslong intelligence campaign.
Christine Fang first met Swalwell when he was City Council member in Dublin, California, and later fundraised for him and placed an intern in his Washington, DC office, according to Axios.
Swalwell immediately cut ties with Fang when he learned about her connections to China. He has not been accused of any wrongdoing. Axios also did not report on or suggest any sexual relationship between Swalwell and Fang.
But on Tuesday night, Fox News host Tucker Carlson claimed that US intelligence officials believe Swalwell and Fang had a sexual relationship, and that Swalwell’s office declined to comment on the matter.
Fox News told Insider that the suspicions of a sexual relationship between Swalwell and Fang came from original reporting.
Swalwell and his office did not respond to Insider’s multiple requests for comment. But he did appear on CNN to question the source and timing of the Axios investigation, suggesting someone was trying to harm him because he criticized President Donald Trump.
Rep. Eric Swalwell’s office has not responded to multiple requests for comment from Insider on whether or not he had a sexual relationship with a suspected Chinese spy.
The allegation that Swalwell was more than an acquaintance of the woman originally came from Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, after an Axios report connected the influential Democrat to a woman who abruptly fled the US in 2015 while under investigation by the FBI.
On Tuesday, Axios published a report detailing the activities of Fang Fang, also known as Christine Fang, a woman whom US counterintelligence officials believe was part of an operation to influence up-and-coming American politicians on behalf of China.
According to the report, Fang was heavily involved in Bay Area and national US politics from 2011 to 2015, and slept with at least two Midwestern mayors as part of a yearslong intelligence campaign.
Fang was also introduced to Swalwell when he was a City Council member in Dublin, California, and later helped fundraise for him and even placed an intern in his Washington, DC office when he was elected to Congress, Axios said.
Swalwell is currently one of the best-known Democrats in the House of Representatives and sits on the powerful House Intelligence Committee. He also unsuccessfully ran for president in the 2020 Democratic primary.
Axios said that Swalwell immediately cut ties with Fang when he learned about her connections to China in 2015, and that he has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
However, on his Tuesday night show, Fox News host Tucker Carlson claimed that “US intelligence officials believe that Fang had a sexual relationship with Eric Swalwell” and that his office refused to comment on the allegation “because such information might be ‘classified.'”
While Axios reported Fang had romantic or sexual relationships with at least two Midwestern mayors, both of whom were unnamed, it did not make any allegation nor suggestion that Fang and Swalwell had sex.
Swalwell’s office also did not return messages requesting clarification from Insider.
Swalwell is currently married with two children. He married his wife, Brittany Watts, in October 2016.
On Wednesday, a representative for Fox News told Insider that Carlson’s claim about a sexual relationship between Swalwell and Fang came from original reporting, without giving more information.
But he did appear on CNN, where he drew attention to how the story says he was not accused of any wrongdoing.
Swalwell said he was “shocked” when the FBI first informed him about Fang’s connection to China, and cooperated with the agency’s investigation into her.
He also questioned the source and timing of Axios’ investigation, which started a year ago, when Swalwell was working on President Donald Trump’s impeachment.
“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. I hope it is investigated who leaked this information,” Swalwell said.
When asked whether he was concerned he may have passed sensitive information to Fang, Swalwell told CNN that he knew he didn’t.
“The Axios story made clear that no information was ever shared,” he said. “The people who did share classified information were the people who leaked this story.”
According to Axios, senior US intelligence officials started briefing Fang’s targets in 2015, and Fang abruptly left the US for China mid-2015 during an FBI investigation into her. She has not returned to the US since, and the Justice Department has not filed any charges against her.
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