Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) acknowledged he has no evidence of any impropriety by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) but that didn’t stop Wenstrup from suggesting he’s a Chinese asset enabled by Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff and the FBI.
Wenstrup admitted, “We’ve obviously got more questions than we have answers,” i.e. he doesn’t know of any wrongdoing by Swalwell. But Asman didn’t care. He wondered “how somebody like Swalwell got on the Intel Committee to begin with?”
Rather than attempt to get the information he supposedly wondered about, Asman just continued with his suggestive questions. “[Swalwell] was a rookie Congressman, he had zero experience in intelligence, not just that, but overseas experience was limited.” Republican Devin Nunes has no overseas or intel experience and he's the ranking member and former chairman of the committee, but you probably won’t hear any questions on Fox about his qualifications.
Wenstrup continued insinuating: “A lot of the American people have no idea of what’s taken place with Mr. Swalwell because mainstream media doesn’t seem to want to talk about it. But we’ve always had concerns about this type of espionage that clearly took place. The Chinese develop a farm team and here’s young Eric Swalwell working in local government and on the rise and builds a relationship with this woman who’s a Chinese spy. Of course, we want to know what Pelosi knew and when and want to know why she would choose to put him on this committee when she’s got hundreds of people to choose from. … He should be disregarded from the beginning because of his past if she knew about it. Same with Adam Schiff knowing about it.”
FACT CHECK: The likely reason Wenstrup and Asman only wanted to ask questions is because the answers provide no ammunition against Swalwell. From Media Matters:
On December 8, Axios reported that “a suspected Chinese intelligence operative developed extensive ties with local and national politicians.” The operation involved a Chinese national named Christine Fang, or Fang Fang, who allegedly attempted to gather information about American politicians from 2011-2015 while enrolled as a college student in California. Though U.S. intelligence officials emphasize that the case was still a “big deal,” they reportedly “do not believe Fang received or passed on classified information.” Axios reported that Swalwell was “among the most significant targets,” and “federal investigators became so alarmed by Fang's behavior and activities that around 2015 they alerted Swalwell to their concerns — giving him what is known as a defensive briefing. Swalwell immediately cut off all ties to Fang, according to a current U.S. intelligence official, and he has not been accused of any wrongdoing.”
While the report does provide an insight into the efforts that China has made to infiltrate U.S. politics, right-wing media have turned the report into an indictment of Swalwell and the Democratic Party, despite the fact that foreign spying incidents are relatively common (in 2018, a woman was accused of seeking to infiltrate GOP politics through similar tactics targeting prominent Republicans on behalf of Russia).
Byron York has admitted that the “scandal” is really about revenge on Swalwell for his starring role in the Russia probe.
Wenstrup went on to make evidence-free suggestions the FBI was involved in some kind of cover-up: “If the FBI went to Eric Swalwell and told him about this and knew of this woman, why was she never arrested? And why did the FBI basically just sweep this under the carpet rather than using it as an example to warn other members and other Americans that this is the type of thing that they do and how they try to operate even down to the local government?”
Asman made a stab at a challenge: “Is it conceivable that the FBI was investigating and you didn’t know about it?” he asked.
“Oh, sure it is,” Wenstrup said. But he went right back to his smeary suggestions: “Supposedly it was the FBI who went to Eric Swalwell to inform him what was going on and then she goes back to China. That concerns me. … Are they just in this habit of trying to cover up for Democrats? I don’t know. But they have a lot of questions I think that need to be answered as well as well as Speaker Pelosi taking Eric Swalwell off the committee. The optics of what he was engaged in are horrible for us if we’re to be perceived as legitimate. And so it seems to me there’s this little California triangle of Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, and Eric Swalwell.”
Asman added Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein to the list because “her group was penetrated by a Chinese spy as well.” But he refocused by asking Wenstrup if any Chinese money went into Swalwell’s campaign. Either Asman didn’t bother to read the Axios report that broke the story or else he was playing dumb and hoping for more empty insinuations because the Axios article clearly stated “no evidence of illegal contributions” had been found.
Wenstrup admitted he had no evidence of that, either.
But Asman got back on message: “It’s extraordinary that he’s still on the committee,” he said.
You can see innuendo replace facts below, from the December 26, 2020 Cavuto Live.