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Swift Bipartisan Reaction Following Santos Indictment; McCarthy Won’t Call for Resignation

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What to Know

  • Rep. George Santos, whose lies about his life story have drawn deep, bipartisan scrutiny, has been charged with making false statements, fraud, money laundering and other crimes in a 13-count federal indictment.
  • The indictment includes seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds and two counts of making materially false statements to the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • However, although politicians from both sides of the aisle have asked for Speaker Kevin McCarthy to call for Santos to resign, McCarthy is standing by his side.

Rep. George Santos, whose lies about his life story have drawn deep, bipartisan scrutiny, has been charged with making false statements, fraud, money laundering and other crimes in a 13-count federal indictment.

The embattled 34-year-old Republican, whose district covers part of Long Island and Queens, was in custody at the time prosecutors in New York’s Eastern District released the court documents.

The indictment includes seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds and two counts of making materially false statements to the U.S. House of Representatives. Read it here.

Reactions to the news has been swift, as well as bipartisan, with the group Concerned Citizens of NY-03, a nonpartisan, ad hoc group of residents from NY’s 3rd Congressional District that formed to have Santos removed, saying in a statement “no one is surprised.”

No one is surprised that George Santos was charged in federal court today[…]The world has known for months that Santos is a liar, an imposter, a criminal. The only thing we didn’t know was which of his many crimes would be prosecuted first. It’s beyond time for Speaker Kevin McCarthy to withdraw his support for Santos and show him the door,” the group said in part.

“Even in Congress, where truth-stretching is almost a norm, Santos is an outlier. He is an imposter,” the Concerned Citizens of NY-03’s statement goes on to say. “It’s a disgrace that McCarthy has continued to sully the U.S. House of Representatives by allowing Santos to walk those sacred halls – for more than four months now! “

Meanwhile, Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY) also called on Santos to leave office.

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“As a retired NYPD Detective, I am confident the justice system will fully reveal Congressman Santos’ long history of deceit, and I once again call on this serial fraudster to resign from office,” D’Esposito said in a statement.

Fellow congressman Dan Goldman (D-NY) also called on Santos to be removed from Congress “immediately.”

“While we wait to see the exact criminal charges filed against George Santos, public reporting indicates that the charges relate to the conduct outlined in the complaint I filed with the House Ethics Committee,” Goldman’s statement reads.  “As a former prosecutor, there were glaring red lights in Santos’s campaign disclosures, and I applaud the DOJ for working diligently to investigate them. 

“Now that Santos has been indicted, it is incumbent on Speaker Kevin McCarthy to eliminate the stain of Santos on this hallowed institution by removing him from Congress immediately,” Goldman’s statement continues. “We cannot wait any longer.” 

Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) called the charges “overdue.”

“He is a pathological liar and lawbreaker who lied to the voters of New York State and defrauded his way into the United States Congress. About 800,000 Americans have been continually deprived of the honest representation they deserve in the People’s House,” Torres said. “Although the details of the federal prosecution are not yet fully known, one thing is crystal clear – either Rep. Santos must resign or House Republican leadership, under Speaker Kevin McCarthy, must summon the courage to join House Democrats in expelling him. Rep. Santos is a deep rot of corruption at the core of Congress.”

New York State Conservative Party Chairman Gerard Kassar also called for Santos to resign.

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“If George Santos has a shred of decency left he will immediately resign from Congress,” Kassar’s statement reads. “The Conservative Party believes in the principle of innocence until proven guilty, but Mr. Santos’s serial lying alone, as reflected in today’s multi-count indictment, makes him ineligible to hold public office. Mr. Santos’s resignation is the one public service he can render.”

However, although politicians from both sides of the aisle have asked for Speaker Kevin McCarthy to call for Santos to resign, McCarthy is standing by his side, even after being informed that he’s been indicted on 13 federal counts. McCarthy told reporters Wednesday morning following news of the indictment that he’s been busy all morning and hasn’t seen the court documents, but when told what the charges are and asked if he’s concerned, McCarthy said “always concerns me.” 

McCarthy did not go as far as to call for Santos’ resignation, and repeated a lot of what he said about Santos Tuesday night at his presser. 

“Just like everyone else, Chairman Menendez who is over on the Senate side as a chairman, when they were indicted, we walk through like every American, have your day in court, and go through,” McCarthy said, alluding to Sen. Bob Menendez’s own legal problems.

“Just like when another member inside the House, Santos was never put on committee, so he won’t serve on committee,” McCarthy told reporters. “He will go through his time in trial and let’s find out how the outcome is.”

Source: NBC New York

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