Rep. Eric Swalwell’s job as a House impeachment manager is to convince at least two-thirds of the Senate to convict former President Trump of inciting an insurrection, but a number of leading Republicans remain unconvinced that he belongs on the House Intelligence and Homeland Security committees.
“That’s an interesting choice…somebody who’s part of a Chinese espionage ring effectively, so it’s a provocative choice,” Sen. Josh Hawley, told a pool reporter during a break in the proceedings about Swalwell’s selection as an impeachment manager.
In this image from video, House impeachment manager Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., speaks during the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. (Senate Television via AP)
Swalwell had posted on Twitter after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot to criticize Sens. Hawley and Ted Cruz as the “Coup Klux Klan.” They were among a group of Republicans who protested the validation of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory in a joint session of Congress that was interrupted by the chaos.
And other prominent Republicans have also scoffed at Swalwell’s role in the proceedings, including Sen. Rand Paul, who has indicated he doesn’t even believe the impeachment trial is constitutional since the president has left office.
“This afternoon we have been lectured to by Eric Swalwell, a guy accused of consorting with a Chinese spy,” tweeted the Kentucky Republican. “How appropriate!”
Swalwell, a former prosecutor, laid out part of the case Wednesday.
“What our commander-in-chief did was wildly different from what anyone here in this room did to raise election concerns,” Swalwell said, speaking before the chamber. “This was a deliberate, premeditated incitement to his base to attack our Capitol while the counting was going on.”
And he argued the insurrection allegations were not simply about the speech Trump gave at a rally shortly before the riot broke out.
“He built this mob over many months, with repeated messaging, until they believed that they had been robbed of their vote and they would do anything to stop the certification. He made them believe that their victory was stolen and incited them so he could use them to steal the election for himself.”
The congressman has yet to address in depth his past relationship with a suspected Chinese spy – who remained connected to his relatives and other lawmakers for years even after the congressman learned of the allegations against her and broke off contact himself.
Current and former intelligence officials have said he should have used the revelation to expose Chinese spying and warn the public about the operation.
A number of past and current Republican House members have called on Swalwell to step down from or be removed from the House Intelligence Committee as a result.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a fellow California Democrat, has declined to remove the congressman from his sensitive post. She even added him to the Homeland Security Committee after the China story emerged.
Swalwell’s office did not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment.
He allegedly first met the spy after she arrived under the guise of an exchange student in 2011. He cut ties with her in 2015 after the FBI briefed him about her alleged activities. But his father and brother appeared on her Facebook friends list until December 2020. So did at least two California mayors and other officials. Additionally, she was accused of carrying on sexual relationships with two mayors from the Midwest.