Last week, an Axios report that took a year to complete revealed that China’s Ministry of State Security — its intelligence operation — sent a female spy to the United States to infiltrate the offices of politicians it deemed on the rise. One of those politicians included Tri-Valley Congressman Eric Swalwell.

Several Republicans seized on the story. Right-leaning websites reported it. Tucker Carlson, the top-rated host on Fox News Channel, held segments on Swalwell, accusing him of sleeping with Fang, even though the Axios article did not report he did, and no other evidence was presented.

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the Republican ranking member on the Intelligence committee, called Swalwell a risk to national security and demanded his removal from the committee. So did House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and about 15 other Republicans, despite any evidence that Swalwell did anything wrong.

Swalwell told CNN that he suspected the information was leaked to Axios a year earlier to hurt his reputation when he became one of President Donald Trump's most ardent critics.

Swalwell courageously tackles issues. He should be honored not punished for being a leader.

Political attempts to damage reputations without facts should stop. For decades, partisan rancor has become worse and worse. Democratic and Republican investigations, egged on by political talk show hosts and pundits, have further eaten away at the ability for the two parties to work together.

The country desperately needs unity, not baseless attacks.

Following years of bitterness, let's hope our two parties can work together to end the pandemic, restore the economy and help Americans who simply can't pay their bills.