Speaker Nancy Pelosi shocked many in Washington by appointing Eric Swalwell as a house managers in the impeachment of President Donald Trump as he continues to face calls for his removal from the House Intelligence Committee due to his alleged intimate relationship with a Chinese spy. Swalwell has been bunkered down to avoid questions from the media and the public, but he will now be one of those prosecuting the case against the President.
He allegedly first met the spy, Fang Fang or Christine Fang, in 2011. She not only raised money for Swalwell but reportedly had a personal relationship with him. She also pushed successfully for his office to accept an intern. He cut ties with her in 2015 after the FBI contacted him. Pelosi made no mention of the scandal in heralding Swalwell’s credentials:
“Congressman Swalwell serves on House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where he chairs the Intelligence Modernization and Readiness Subcommittee, and on the Judiciary Committee,” Pelosi’s office said in a statement. “He is a former prosecutor and is the son and brother of law enforcement officers. He is serving his fifth term in Congress.”
Usually a speaker selects House managers to reinforce the credibility and integrity of the case against a president. Even before the current scandal, Swalwell was viewed as a member who was a raw partisan. Last year, it was revealed that (despite long denials) the FBI did send an agent to report on his observations within the Trump campaign. As I discussed in a column, Democratic members spent years mocking allegations that there was any spying or surveillance of Trump or his campaign by the FBI. That was just a conspiracy theory. Now however there is proof that the FBI used a briefing in August 2016 of then candidate Trump to gather information for “Crossfire Hurricane,” the Russia investigation. It turns out that it did not really matter after all and Rep. Eric Swalwell did not miss a step. Swalwell declared that such targeting of the opposing party and its leading presidential candidate was “the right thing to do.” That’s it. A conspiracy theory suddenly becomes a commendable act.
Previously, Swalwell also declared that if President Donald Trump refused to give Congress the documents and witnesses that it has demanded, he is clearly guilty of all charged offenses. Swalwell declared “We can only conclude that you’re guilty.”
The Swalwell selection is clearly part of a rehabilitation campaign. Swalwell remained secluded as the many in the media refused to carry the story, let alone investigate it. A member of the House Intelligence Committee carried on an intimate relationship with a Chinese spy but major media largely blacked out coverage as they did on the Hunter Biden story. Now Pelosi will use the impeachment as a way for Swalwell to reemerge from seclusion . . . as the accuser and prosecutor of President Donald Trump.
While there are good faith reasons for calling for impeachment, there remain serious questions over the speed and basis for the impeachment. My concern is primarily over the use of a snap impeachment without even a hearing to discuss the implications of this action. That makes the House managers even more important in bringing credibility to this effort. This is putting politics ahead of the institution in my view.