Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), an influential House conservative who recently chaired the Republican Study Committee (RSC) and is currently the presumptive favorite for Indiana’s open U.S. Senate seat, is pressing Democrat President Joe Biden to publicly release a classified report that details the nature of the relationship between Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and Chinese spy Fang Fang.
In a letter sent to Biden last week, obtained exclusively by Breitbart News, Banks noted that the White House expressed outrage at House Speaker Kevin McCarthy move to pull Swalwell off the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI).
“At a recent press conference, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre took issue with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s decision to prevent Rep. Eric Swalwell from sitting on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence,” Banks wrote to Biden. “Ms. Jean Pierre stated that Rep. Swalwell, along with Reps. Ilhan Omar and Adam Schiff, ‘bring a lot to the table when it comes to foreign policy and national security.’ She continued: ‘It should be independent. And again, those congressional members bring a lot of expertise to that committee, and I’ll leave it there.’”
In the next paragraph, Banks cited McCarthy’s rationale for removing Swalwell from the Intelligence Committee. “Speaker McCarthy and other Members of Congress have explained that in their view Rep. Swalwell’s past relationship with a Chinese spy, Fang Fang, presents a national security risk and disqualifies Rep. Swalwell from receiving access to the most highly classified information available to a Member of Congress and from overseeing our nation’s intelligence agencies,” Banks wrote. “For unknown reasons, the White House disagrees.”
Then Banks references a summer 2021 report from Breitbart News, which revealed the existence of a classified report that former intelligence community officials who read it said contained explicit details on the nature of Swalwell’s relationship with Fang Fang.
Banks asked the president to declassify and publicly release the report, as Biden has the power to do as sitting President of the United States, and then if it shows the relationship between Swalwell and Fang Fang was innocuous he would support Swalwell’s reinstatement to the Intelligence Committee. He wrote that many other House Republicans would support the same.
“According to a July 2021 report from the news outlet Breitbart, the White House possesses a classified report that includes publicly unavailable details about Rep. Swalwell’s relationship with Fang Fang,” Banks wrote to Biden. “If the White House’s position is correct and Rep. Swalwell’s past association with a Chinese spy does not preclude him from serving on the House Intelligence Committee, then the White House should immediately declassify its report on Rep. Swalwell. If the report proves that, as the White House is suggesting, Rep. Swalwell’s relations with Fang Fang were innocuous and do not threaten our national security, then many House Republicans, including me, would support allowing Rep. Swalwell to serve on the House Intelligence Committee.”
As Breitbart News reported in July 2021, the classified report per multiple officials familiar with its contents “contains details of the nature of Swalwell’s relationship with Fang Fang including certain sexual acts they allegedly engaged in together.”
“Sources familiar with it, however, would not provide any more detail on the nature of those acts or other details in the report—which is currently classified,” the July 2021 Breitbart News story continues.
The piece quotes two different former intelligence community officials as well. “For those who have seen the details of the Swalwell case, it was shocking that Pelosi and Schiff so willingly kept him on the intelligence committee even for nakedly partisan lawmakers like themselves,” one former senior national security official familiar with the details of the classified Swalwell-Fang Fang report said.
“Regardless of whether you would have pegged Eric Swalwell as someone dumb enough to sleep with a CCP spy, the evidence is damning,” a second source familiar with the report’s details, a former external senior adviser to Intelligence Community (IC) leadership, told Breitbart News for that original story. “That report should be declassified. There are no concerns about sources or methods. The only purpose served by keeping that report classified is saving Swalwell from embarrassment. That’s not a good enough reason.”
More than a year and a half later, Swalwell and his office have continually refused to deny this report exists or that it shows what Breitbart News’s intelligence community sources reported it shows.
Biden could, as Banks noted, put it all to bed right now by simply ordering the declassification of the report and then publicly releasing it so all can read it. But the White House and several current intelligence community officials have for more than a year refused to comment on this and have not said if the president will take such action in the interest of transparency. Now that the White House itself is defending Swalwell—Banks highlighted White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s defense of him in his letter—that opens the door to pressing Biden more on this.
Banks is running for the U.S. Senate seat that Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) is leaving open in 2024 as Braun pursues a gubernatorial bid. On Tuesday, former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels—an establishment Republican that people like Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) were pushing to pursue a bid against Banks for the seat—announced he is not in fact running for the seat. That clears the way for Banks.