House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s effort to kick Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) off the House Intelligence Committee over his past ties to an alleged Chinese spy, failed on Thursday.
Lawmakers voted mostly along party lines 218-200, with three Republicans voting “present,” to table McCarthy’s resolution, according to The Hill.
Axios reported last year that Swalwell was a target for alleged Chinese spy Christine Fang. She helped to raise money for Swalwell’s 2014 reelection bid and placed an intern inside his office before leaving the country in 2015 amid a federal investigation into her actions.
Swalwell’s office said at the time that the congressman cooperated with the FBI investigation and that he’s hasn’t seen Fang in over six years.
After Swalwell was re-appointed to the House Intelligence Committee by Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week, McCarthy said he would offer a resolution to remove him because Swalwell should not be “in charge of guarding our nation’s secrets.”
House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff defended Swalwell in a statement on Thursday, calling him a “trusted and valued” member of the panel, The Hill reported. “It’s disturbing that Kevin McCarthy is attempting to weaponize classified counterintelligence briefings as a political cudgel, and use them to smear a House colleague in the process,” Schiff added.