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After spending months spilling ink to delegitimize stories implicating President-elect Joe Biden in his son’s corrupt overseas business dealings, the New York Times has found a new favorite Democrat to protect.

As of this writing Monday morning, the nation’s most influential newspaper — boasting more than 7 million subscribers — has yet to dedicate a single article or news item to the compromising revelations surrounding Democratic House Intelligence Committee member Eric Swalwell cultivating a relationship with a Chinese spy.

The story, first reported by Axios earlier this month, chronicles an alleged relationship between Swalwell and a since-vanished Chinese national named Fang Fang, who placed an intern in Swalwell’s office and helped fundraise for the California congressman’s 2014 re-election campaign. Fang Fang’s influence on the Democratic representative with access to the nation’s top secrets on the Intelligence Committee raised enough alarm within the FBI that in 2015, according to Axios, federal authorities provided Swalwell a “defensive briefing” regarding Fang Fang’s threat.

While federal intelligence officials told Axios that Fang Fang engaged in sexual conduct to manipulate at least two midwestern mayors in the past, the outlet did not report whether Fang Fang had been romantically involved with Swalwell but leaves the likelihood of a romantic relationship an open question. That question, however, has remained unanswered as the Bay Area-representative has refused to disclose such details.

Reporting of Swalwell’s conduct has provoked growing calls from Republicans to remove Swalwell from the House Intelligence Committee. On Friday, Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was given an FBI briefing on the matter alongside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. While Pelosi left the meeting without making comments to reporters, McCarthy left sounding more convinced than ever that Swalwell should be stripped of the assignment.

“He should not be on Intel,” McCarthy said as he left the briefing. “I just think there are definitely 200 other Democrats that I know could fill that place.”

Swalwell, a primary culprit in weaponizing his role on the Intelligence Committee to perpetuate the Russia hoax — alongside California colleague Adam Schiff, who chairs the committee — has continued to deny any wrongdoing and has reverted a favorite Democratic Party narrative of collusion accusing

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Trump of leaking the story to Axios.

Despite the calls from more than a dozen House lawmakers calling for Swalwell’s removal, including the House minority leader, combined with credible reporting on the scandal from outlets the Times has routinely cited for major stories, the legacy paper has yet to offer a single column to the blockbuster revelations. Given the Times’s relentless four-year coverage of the Russia hoax implicating President Trump as a covert agent of the Kremlin, however, one could easily imagine how the paper might react differently had the representative in Swalwell’s seat held an “R” next to their name.

The refusal of the Times to cover the Swalwell story might also stem from motivation to protect the paper’s Chinese interests as opposed to mere naked partisan activism.

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, who owns more than 17 percent of the New York Times Company and saved the paper in 2009 with a $250 million dollar loan has also invested millions in Chinese interests. In 2017, Slim’s Giant Motors partnered with China’s JAC Motors to begin manufacturing Chinese-designed and -manufactured vehicles in Mexico to circumvent U.S. trade restrictions.

The Swalwell cover-up is not the first time the American paper has recently illustrated its Chinese influence. In October, the Times published Chinese propaganda glorifying the Chinese Communist Party’s crackdown in Hong Kong.




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"I haven't been able to get this moment out of my head"

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"It became clear that Scott Pruitt had sought to purchase a used mattress from the Trump hotel. And I thought, ‘This is not what I expected this job would look like.’" At the close of Donald Trump’s presidency, POLITICO’s reporters and editors share their strongest memories of the last four years: Shocking moments they witnessed, conversations they overheard and what will stay with them forever. Plus, new Playbook co-author Tara Palmeri talks to Scott Bland about what she really wants to see in Biden’s first days in office.

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Trump forces seek primary revenge on GOP impeachment backers

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Whether the Trump-inspired primary challengers succeed is far from clear. Dislodging an incumbent is notoriously difficult, and Republican leaders are expected to move aggressively to protect their members. But the early activity illustrates the degree to which Trump’s staunch allies are determined to make his critics pay a price.

“The stance taken by Liz was very contentious here in Wyoming,” said Republican Bryan Miller, a retired Air Force officer expected to run against Rep. Liz Cheney, a House GOP leader who vocally supported Trump’s impeachment. “This isn’t going to be a passing thing that just goes away. It’s growing and growing and growing every day across the state. People are unhappy.”

Miller isn’t alone. Cheney has drawn opposition from several other Republicans, including state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, who has called Cheney “out of touch” for her criticism of the former president.

Newly elected Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan, another impeachment backer, is getting challenged by Afghanistan war veteran Tom Norton, who has appeared on former Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast to promote his candidacy. Gene Koprowski, a former official at the Heartland Institute think tank, is already running against Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger. In Ohio, former state Rep. Christina Hagan is not ruling out a primary bid against Republican Rep. Anthony Gonzalez.

“I have never seen a greater amount of backlash for any one single vote taken by any one single member of our Republican congressional delegation in Ohio,” said Hagan, who lost a primary to Gonzalez when the seat was open in 2018. “I have heard from Republicans in positions of power, within party leadership and all the way across the spectrum to faithful volunteers and business leaders throughout the region who are expressing serious frustration and distaste.”

Pro-Trump donors are joining the assault. Suzie Burke, a Seattle real estate executive who has contributed to Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) in the years before the congresswoman’s impeachment vote, said she would “not be helping people who chose to rush to such placating the other side of the aisle.”

Hossein Khorram, a Washington State-based former Trump finance committee official who gave more than $100,000 to pro-Trump causes during the election, said he was also shutting off the spigot.

“I personally know those Washington State members of Congress who voted to impeach Trump. Our friendship will continue but no more financial support from me. In my view they just retired from Congress,” said Khorram, a real estate developer who has previously given to Rep. Dan Newhouse, another Republican in the state who supported impeachment.

Deep-pocketed outside groups are also engaging. Chris Ekstrom, the chair of the Courageous Conservatives political action committee, said his organization would be focusing on defeating Cheney, Gonzalez, and South Carolina Rep. Tom Rice.

“All of them are vulnerable. Some things stick in politics and I think this outrageous betrayal will,” said Ekstrom. “Examples will be made.”

Ekstrom, a Dallas investor, said he was beginning to reach out to Texas-based Trump donors to raise money for the effort.

People close to Trump say he is particularly fixated on the Republicans who backed impeachment and is determined to take them out. The former president has raised more than $200 million since the election, much of which has been directed into a new committee than could be used to back primary opponents. Trump aides have also been at work creating a political apparatus that can be deployed in the 2022 elections.

While Trump is gone from the White House, Republican still face a conundrum: How to mollify his tens of millions of supporters, many of whom remain convinced that the election was stolen and insist that Trump isn’t to blame for the Jan. 6 riot. Party officials concede that they need to keep Trump’s loyalists in the fold and say failure to do so will complicate their political fortunes in 2022 and beyond.

With the Senate impeachment trial looming, attention is shifting to Republican lawmakers in that chamber who must decide whether to vote to convict Trump. Several incumbents face potentially challenging general election contests, and their prospects could be further complicated by primary fights. Trump has already said he wants to oust red-state Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and John Thune (S.D.) for not supporting his drive to subvert the election results.

But some Republicans argue that any political fallout for impeachment supporters will be short-lived. They insist that among GOP voters there’s been widespread revulsion over Trump’s role in the uprising and say that many are in favor of impeachment.

Rice, a five-term South Carolina congressman from the conservative northeastern part of the state, said most of the people he’d heard from had expressed disapproval for his vote. But he said he’d also gotten positive feedback from hundreds of people across the country, including some who offered campaign contributions.

“There are a number of people who have expressed their displeasure obviously and others who are happy with a vote of principle. I didn’t swear an oath to Donald Trump, I didn’t swear an oath to the Republican Party, I swore an oath to defend the Constitution. That’s what I intend to do,” said Rice.

The Trump forces will face high hurdles in defeating any of the pro-impeachment Republicans. Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, raised nearly $3 million during the 2020 election cycle and is certain to have a substantial campaign account in 2022. Cheney is also a well-known commodity in the state: She is the daughter of former vice president and ex-Wyoming congressman Dick Cheney.

The rush to take on Cheney may make it harder to unseat her — a trend that may play out in other districts, too. With multiple candidates in the race, the primary challengers face the prospect of splintering their support and giving the three-term congresswoman an easy path to victory.

Complicating matters further is redistricting, the once-in-a-decade drawing of congressional lines which will determine where House candidates seek election. Hagan said she was waiting for clarity on how Ohio’s map would be reconfigured.

But even at this early stage of the midterm election cycle, the impeachment vote is looming large in the minds of Republicans.

Rice said he did not want to offer advice to senators on how they should vote in Trump’s upcoming trial. But he noted that the Capitol siege had imperiled the lives of lawmakers, including many who had been loyal to the president. The congressman recalled sheltering in a saferoom, not knowing if someone outside had a weapon. All the while, Rice said, Trump was doing nothing to quell the violence.

“If that’s not high crimes and misdemeanors, I don’t know what is,” Rice said. “I don’t know what it would take.”


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Trump-backing California legislator ousted as GOP caucus leader

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California Senate Republicans have chosen state Sen. Scott Wilk to lead their caucus, ousting incumbent state Sen. Shannon Grove, according to multiple Capitol sources.

In trading Grove for Wilk, Republicans are opting for a more moderate choice. Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) periodically votes with Democrats, and he has scored rare endorsements from organized labor — the types of connections that could increase his clout in a Capitol dominated by Democrats. He just won back a battleground seat, thanks in part to massive spending by the California Republican Party and interest groups, and he is termed out in 2024.

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Dissatisfaction with Grove’s leadership was already mounting after Senate Republicans lost two seats this election even as California Republicans picked up multiple House seats, shriveling the Senate GOP caucus to just nine members. Grove (R-Bakersfield) exacerbated the situation with a tweet blaming the U.S. Capitol riots on antifa.


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