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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday she doesn't have "any concern" about Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), after an Axios investigation revealed the congressman was targeted by a suspected Chinese spy seeking to gain access to U.S. political circles up until 2015.

Driving the news: Pelosi called for closer examination of Chinese activities "in terms of their undue influence at universities in our country and the overtures they've tried to make to members of Congress," but stopped short of saying that lawmakers should run background checks on everyone they work with.

Swalwell is not accused of wrongdoing and says he immediately cut off ties with the suspected operative, Christine Fang, when alerted by the FBI in 2015.

  • He said Wednesday that the government needs to invest more in intelligence resources to ensure that foreign agents can't successfully conduct these kinds of operations, as congressional offices don't have the "technical capabilities" to run extensive background checks.
  • Pelosi said at a press conference Thursday: "I think we should make sure that everybody knows what they are being subjected to. But I don't know that it means that we have to background check every intern who comes into the Capitol."

The big picture: Pelosi confirmed that congressional leaders were briefed in the spring of 2015 about the Chinese operation targeting U.S. officials, including Swalwell.

  • "When that was made known to the members of Congress, it was over. That was the end of any communication with those people," Pelosi said.
  • Pelosi accused House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who has questioned how long Pelosi knew of Swalwell's ties to Fang, of "trying to deflect attention from the fact that he has QAnon in his delegation."
  • "We knew when they knew," Pelosi said, noting that the leaders of both parties were briefed at the same time.

Go deeper: Read the full Axios investigation into Christine Fang

Go deeper

Jan 19, 2021 - World

Top DOJ official John Demers on the agency's China Initiative

Assistant Attorney General John Demers speaks at a press conference on Oct. 19, 2020. Photo credit: Andrew Harnik/Getty Images.

John Demers, the assistant attorney general at the Department of Justice's National Security Division who leads the department's China Initiative, spoke with Axios about his view on the initiative's progress since its launch in 2018 and what he hopes to see in the coming year as Biden assumes office.

The big picture: The China Initiative made headlines with dozens of major indictments but also sparked controversy over its targeting of scientists with links to the Chinese government.

Updated Jan 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Woman who allegedly stole laptop from Pelosi's office faces fresh charges

Photo: FBI

A woman accused of breaching the Capitol and planning to sell to Russia a laptop or hard drive she allegedly stole from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office faces fresh charges, according to a criminal complaint amended Tuesday.

Driving the news: Riley June Williams, 22, who was arrested in Pennsylvania's Middle District Monday, is suspected of being the woman featured in a video saying, "dude, put on gloves," before a man's gloved hand reaches for the laptop, per the Department of Justice.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
41 mins ago - Economy & Business

Scoop: Red Sox strike out on deal to go public

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The parent company of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool F.C. has ended talks to sell a minority ownership stake to RedBall Acquisition, a SPAC formed by longtime baseball executive Billy Beane and investor Gerry Cardinale, Axios has learned from multiple sources. An alternative investment, structured more like private equity, remains possible.

Why it matters: Red Sox fans won't be able to buy stock in the team any time soon.