- The Washington Times
Wednesday, December 9, 2020

OPINION:

A new report from Axios details how a female Chinese intel operative forged warm and friendly relations, campaign and fundraising relations, even romantic and sexual relations, with California and Midwestern politicians between the years of 2011 and 2015 in order to influence their policies in American government. In other words, she was trying to collude with U.S. politicians.

This is hardly shocking. China wants to upset America’s global dominance.


What is a bit shocking, though, is the fact one of her collusion targets, Rep. Eric Swalwell, who couldn’t wait to impeach President Donald Trump for false Russia collusion charges, is now shaking off any negative press here by — get this — accusing Trump of colluding with Axios. Or maybe it’s Axios colluding with Trump.

Either, or. Either way, it’s ridiculous.

First, the backstory.

“What Does China Really Want?” Bloomberg asked in a headline in May.

“To Dominate the World,” Bloomberg answered in the same headline in May.

And sending in the operatives to seduce the unwitting is right out of the Spy Game 101 manual. Enter Fang Fang, also known as Christine Fang, a Chinese national.

Axios wrote, “Among the most significant targets of Fang’s efforts was Rep. Eric Swalwell. … Fang took part in fundraising activity for Swalwell’s 2014 re-election campaign. … Swalwell’s office was directly aware of these activities on its behalf. … That same political operative [though], who witnessed Fang fundraising on Swalwell’s behalf, found no evidence of illegal contributions.”

Fang didn’t personally donate to Swalwell, Axios reported. But she did wield enough influence to place an intern in Swalwell’s office and to schmooze with the congressman personally at events over the years.

Axios went on: “Amid a widening counterintelligence probe, federal investigators became so alarmed by Fang’s behavior and activities that around 2015, they alerted Swalwell to their concerns. … Swalwell immediately cut off all ties to Fang.”

Fang, meanwhile, exited, stage left from America in 2015, leaving a string of questions about her influences with other U.S. politicians in her wake. Among her targets: Tulsi Gabbard, whose campaign she helped fundraise, and several mayors.

So now comes Swalwell with response to this Axios report. And instead of taking a humble road, instead of adopting a reflective tone that looks at his own false and arrogant charges against Trump, Swalwell swings into partisan mode.

He suggests Trump was a plant behind the Axios report. Think about that for a moment. It’s a response that’s really rather astonishing.

Swalwell, the guy who tried to bring down Trump with Russia collusion charges — is now distracting and ducking and dodging from a collusion-like scandal of his own.

Not that Swalwell has done anything wrong.

Let’s be clear: Swalwell hasn’t done anything wrong.

But let’s be even clearer on this point: Neither did Trump.

Now here’s the breathtaking hypocrisy: Swalwell, though, is a Democrat who stood strong on the side of “Impeach Trump!” — for alleged Russia collusion. Those charges proved false. Now isn’t that sort of, kind of, a bit of what Swalwell himself was targeted by Fang to do? Wouldn’t now be a good time for Swalwell to show a side of humility that went lacking during his months and months and years of attacks on Trump?

“I’ve been a critic of the president. I’ve spoken out against him. I was on both committees that worked to impeach him,” Swalwell said in an interview with Politico, while responding to the Axios report and Fang’s attempt to influence U.S. politicians — to persuade U.S. politicians to collude with China interests.

But instead of reflecting on his own wrongful characterization of Trump, with a newfound sense of how false charges can actually be false — i.e., by reflecting on how both he and Trump shared a common denominator of being targeted by operatives but were both innocent of wrongdoing — Swalwell finished his statement to Politico with this: “The timing [of the report] feels like that should be looked at.”

In other words: Swalwell’s suggesting Trump’s behind the Axios report.

Swalwell, who spent years smearing Trump with false Russia collusion charges, now is accusing Trump of colluding with Axios. 

“The California Democrat says the president is trying to make him look bad,” Politico wrote.

No, Swalwell. You’re doing a good job of that yourself.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.


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