CNN didn’t bother to ask Rep. Eric Swalwell about his entanglement with a suspected Chinese spy despite unanswered questions related to the growing threat of Chinese espionage in the United States.
Axios reported last year that a Chinese national named Fang Fang, or Christine Fang, targeted up-and-coming local politicians, including Swalwell, who she reportedly met when he was a councilman before he was elected to Congress.
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. Meanwhile, Swalwell’s office on multiple occasions did not answer questions on whether or not he had sexual or romantic interactions with Fang.
Swalwell has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but the situation led to scrutiny about whether he should retain his seat on the House Intelligence Committee. He has since been named impeachment manager as Democrats gear up to present their impeachment case to senators, accusing President Trump of inciting an insurrection at the Capitol earlier this month.
China analyst Gordon Chang recently said Swalwell’s failure to address his relationship with Fang Fang indicates that “China may still have leverage” over the Democratic lawmaker.
Swalwell joined CNN on Tuesday and wasn’t asked about the issue with the Chinese spy, as the network focused on the mood of Washington, D.C., as Inauguration Day approaches, how the congressman’s safety will be ensured at the event and how President-elect Joe Biden plans to tackle hot-button issues.
Swalwell was also asked if the impeachment trial will start next week, if he’s received “marching orders,” whether or not witnesses will be called and how long the impeachment process should last. The Fang Fang scandal was never mentioned, which is nothing new for CNN.
Swalwell also appeared on CNN on Jan. 12 and Jan. 14, with the Chinese spy scandal going unmentioned both of those times, too.
CNN completely avoided the story altogether, both on air and online, when it broke last year, not giving it any coverage the day Axios first reported the bombshell.
CNN ignored the story until the morning after it became national news when Swalwell was invited to respond on the liberal network, as CNN viewers were left in the dark until the Democratic lawmaker was ready to dismiss it.
“I was shocked,” Swalwell told CNN’s Jim Sciutto on Dec. 9. “Just over six years ago, I was told about this individual and then I offered to help, and I did help and I was thanked by the FBI for my help and that person is no longer in the country and I was a little surprised to read about my cooperation in that story, because the story says that there was never a suspicion of wrongdoing on my part.”
Swalwell also appeared on CNN last Thursday, though anchor Wolf Blitzer asked only about impeachment and security threats at the inauguration.
“The China Showdown” — streaming on Fox Nation — places renewed scrutiny on Swalwell’s connection to the Chinese Communist Party, spotlighting the mounting unanswered questions as the House Intelligence Committee member maintains access to the country’s most sensitive secrets.
“We need to know more, we need to hear him give a public accounting,” Chang told host Bill Hemmer.
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn, Yael Halon and Tyler Olson contributed to this report