House China Committee Will Call Trump Officials To Testify — And Face Questions Over Spy Balloons


The House Select Committee on China will call Matthew Pottinger and H.R. McMaster—two former Trump Administration national security advisers who are well-respected on both sides of the aisle—to testify in its first hearing next week that comes amid growing tensions between the U.S. and China, CNN reported, citing unnamed sources.

Key Facts

The committee is expected to question the two former Trump advisers about China’s spy balloon program, after Pentagon officials said the agency discovered at least three unidentified aerial vessels—later determined to be Chinese spy balloons—during the Trump Administration, but did not inform the White House, The Wall Street Journal reported last week.

In addition to McMaster and Pottinger, Scott Paul, head of the nonprofit, the Alliance for American Manufacturing, will testify about how the U.S. can tamp down on Beijing’s rise in the global tech and manufacturing industries, according to CNN.

The House formed the committee earlier this year to investigate national security and economic threats from China in a 365-65 vote, representing a rare area of bipartisan cooperation in the highly politicized 118th Congress.

Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng and his former secretary Tong Yi are also expected to testify about human rights abuses by China.

The committee, in its early stage, has laid out a broad focus for addressing the various threats China poses to U.S. national security and economic interests, but ultimately hopes to implement policy and legislative recommendations that can net bipartisan support.

Crucial Quote

“We’re not going to turn this into a partisan, bomb-throwing committee,” Committee Chair Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.) told CNN. “There are plenty of areas where Democrats and Republicans disagree on China, but overall, I think everyone’s trying to row in the same direction.”

Key Background

China’s deployment of a spy balloon over U.S. territory, along with concerns that Beijing could supply weapons to Russia in its war with Ukraine, have brought heightened attention to the committee over the past month. Testimony from McMaster and Pottinger could lend credence to its stated goal of being a “serious” committee that can propose policies and legislation that have a chance at passage in the split Congress. The White House has also taken steps to limit China’s rise in the tech industry and its ability to use technology advances to spy on American citizens. The Biden Administration in January banned the Chinese-owned social media app, TikTok, from government devices after revelations the company used its data to spy on American citizens, including Forbes journalists. Gallagher has also said the committee will scrutinize TikTok.


The committee is also expected to address the growing threat of a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan. Beijing has staged military exercises in recent months near Taiwan, which considers itself a sovereign state, while Chinese President Xi Jingping has expressed desire for “reunification” of China and Taiwan. The Pentagon has taken a measured approach to supporting Taiwan’s desire to maintain independence without increasing tensions with Beijing. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), a member of the House Select Committee on China, led a bipartisan congressional delegation on a trip to Taiwan earlier this week, where they met with President Tsai Ing-wen and business leaders.

Further Reading

New U.S. House Targets China: 2nd Bill Prohibits Oil Sales, As Beijing Becomes A Target (Forbes)

New Effort Against Chinese Spying: DOJ “Task Force” Will Target Tech Used By Americans (Forbes)

Pentagon Officials Were Reportedly Aware Of Mysterious Balloons During The Trump Administration, But Didn’t Inform The White House (Forbes)