In a tweet on Monday, Congressman Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., compared Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., keeping his seat on the House Intelligence Committee to putting former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, who was sentenced to 21 months in prison for sending sexually explicit texts to a 15 year old girl, on the Ethics Committee.
At issue are the calls for Swalwell to step down from the committee because of a report that he was being targeted by a suspected Chinese spy disguised as an exchange student.
REP. SWALWELL SHOULD BE DROPPED FROM INTEL COMMITTEE BECAUSE OF SPY SCANDAL: REP. RIGGLEMAN
Axios reported that Swalwell was one of the targets of a Chinese national known as Fang Fang or Christine Fang. The news site also reported that Fang was romantically involved with at least two mayors in the Midwest.
Swalwell met Fang while he was a city councilman in Dublin, Calif., and he remained in contact with her as he rose in politics, until the FBI warned him about her in 2015, according to Axios.
Fang reportedly took part in fundraising for Swalwell’s 2014 reelection campaign. Although she did not make donations nor was there evidence of illegal contributions. In addition, it was reported that Fang placed at least one intern in Swalwell’s office and interacted with him during events over several years.
Swalwell hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing and Fang is not suspected of getting any classified information.
Gaetz slammed the media’s coverage of Swalwell and Fang during an interview with “Fox & Friends” earlier this month.
“I’m old enough to remember when Lev Parnas showed up and made a few donations at Republican events, Gaetz said. “That was wall-to-wall coverage from the media, but when Eric Swalwell engages in a very close relationship with — clearly — an agent of Communist China … Well, that’s deemed as something we can just accept and move on.”
Gaetz claimed the limited coverage by media outlets “really shows a desire to go after Republicans at every cause” while protecting Democrats.
“When Democrats are targeted by foreign intelligence, they get a defensive briefing,” Gaetz added. “When Republicans are targeted, they get impeachment, investigations … and threats of jail time, so it really is a double standard.”
RUBIO DEMANDS ANSWERS FROM SWALWELL ‘IF HE WANTS TO CONTINUE SERVING’ ON HOUSE INTEL PANEL
Gaetz isn’t the only one to take issue with Swalwell keeping his seat on the committee.
Senate Intelligence Committee Acting Chairmain Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told “The Story” that Swalwell needs to come clean about his relationship with Fang if he would like to continue to serve on the committee.
“There are legitimate questions,” Rubio said. “I’m not accusing anyone of anything, it is perhaps the way he says … but there are a lot of legitimate questions that I think are important to answer, not just as a member of Congress to his constituency, but in the House if he wants to continue serving in this important role.”
Meanwhile, a group of 17 Republican House members have sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging her to “immediately remove” Swalwell from the committee.
“Because of Rep. Swalwell’s position on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, his close interactions with Chinese intelligence services, however unintentional they may be, are an unacceptable national security risk,” the letter reads.
House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy is also demanding answers as to whether Pelosi knew about Swalwell’s relationship with Fang.
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It remains unclear whether the congressman warned anyone else who met the alleged spy after the FBI delivered the defensive briefing. While he’s been largely mum about the nature of his acquaintance with Fang, both his brother and father remained Facebook friends with Fang until earlier this month.
Swalwell’s office did not immediately respond to FOX News’ request for comment.
Fox News’ Yael Halon and Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.