Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri said Rep. Eric Swalwell was a “provocative choice” to present part of the House Democrats’ impeachment case against former President Trump on Wednesday, in light of the California Democrat’s recent espionage scandal.
“That’s an interesting choice,” Mr. Hawley told reporters. “Somebody who’s part of a Chinese espionage ring effectively so it’s a provocative choice. I will say that.”
Mr. Swalwell argued Mr. Trump showed intent to incite a violent mob on Jan. 6 during a joint session of Congress by pointing to several tweets from the former president, praising his supporters for coming to his rally and noting the day would be “historic.”
But Mr. Swalwell isn’t immune from scrutiny himself, with Axios reporting in December that the House Intelligence Committee member was targeted by a Chinese spy named Christine Fang, whom Mr. Swalwell became friendly with.
Mr. Swalwell denied any inappropriate interaction with Ms. Fang, who has since left the country.
But the lawmaker has remained on the prestigious committee and was tapped by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to assist in prosecuting Mr. Trump.
Other conservatives have taken jabs at Rep. Jamie Raskin, Maryland Democrat, who is leading the House Democrats impeachment team, for previously objecting to the 2016 election results.
They say it’s hypocritical for him to now be claiming Mr. Trump incited an insurrection by challenging the 2020 election.
House impeachment managers are making their case against the former president throughout several hours of legal arguments on Wednesday.
The trial opened Tuesday with the two sides debating whether an impeachment trial for a former president is constitutional.
The Senate voted 56-44 that it was, allowing the proceeding to continue.
Six Republicans voted with Democrats in favor of the trial moving forward and expressed praise for the House Democrats’ arguments, saying they were strong.
Mr. Trump‘s legal team, though, says they do not plan on changing their strategy.