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Democratic California Rep. Eric Swalwell, who remains on the House Intelligence Committee despite foggy ties to a Chinese spy and who will serve as an impeachment manager, associated President Trump with Usama bin Laden in an interview Tuesday.
In response to a question about President Trump’s culpability for the Capitol siege last Wednesday, Swalwell began by immediately bringing up the terrorist leader.
"Usama bin Laden did not enter US soil on Sept. 11, but it was widely acknowledged that he was responsible for inspiring the attack on our country," Swalwell told PBS NewsHour. "And the president, with his words — using the word ‘fight,’ with the speakers that he assembled that day, who called for trial by combat and said we have to take names and kick a–, that is hate speech that inspired and radicalized people to storm the Capitol."
Impeachment manager Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., walks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
And Swalwell claimed that many of the people arrested in connection with the rioting stated that they had been "called there by the president."
NewsHour host Judy Woodruff immediately followed up by asking, "Are you comparing President Trump to Usama bin Laden?"
"I’m comparing the words of a[n] individual who would incite and radicalize somebody, as Usama bin Laden did, to what President Trump did," Swalwell replied. "You don’t actually have to commit the violence yourself, but if you call others to violence, that itself is a crime."
Swalwell has stepped up his rhetoric since a riot inside the Capitol left at least five people dead in the hours after President Trump spoke to supporters and reiterated unproven claims that he’d won the 2020 election.
He referred to a number of pro-Trump Republicans in Congress as the "Coup Klux Klan" and accused GOP lawmakers of condoning "terrorists" in response to them voicing election fraud concerns.
While he’s been vocal with colorful criticisms of his Republican colleagues in recent days, he’s largely remained mum on his ties to suspected Chinese spy Fang Fang – ignoring questions from the media and calls by fellow lawmakers to step down from his role on the Intel Committee in the wake of the security lapse.