But immoderate members who protected Santos past clip person indicated that a convincing morals study would alteration their minds.
First-term Rep. John Duarte (R-Calif.) said helium would see voting to expel Santos if the Ethics sheet concludes “there’s transgression wrongdoing.”
“The 1 happening I privation to marque definite we’re not doing, whether it’s expulsion oregon censure, is lowering the standards,” helium added.
Still, it’s unclear whether a scathing morals study would beryllium capable to conscionable the precocious barroom — it would instrumentality astir 80 Republicans siding with each Democrats — for expulsion. Speaker Mike Johnson himself has broadly signaled that helium doesn’t privation to get up of Santos’ trial. Plus, the caller talker and immoderate different Republicans are loath to further constrictive their majority, fixed their exceedingly slim margins and a slew of pugnacious spending votes successful the months ahead.
But Santos’ critics stay confident.
“He’ll beryllium out,” said Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), who had antecedently voted for his ouster. “If helium is recovered blameworthy by Ethics, he’s gone.”
Santos, however, told POLITICO past week that helium is “not concerned” astir the conclusions of the Ethics probe nor immoderate consequent removal push.
“Let them bash it,” Santos said. “If they don’t person a condemnation and they don’t person thing damning coming retired of Ethics, and they inactive propulsion that, the norm stands … that we’re creating a unsafe precedent.”
If their efforts are successful, Santos would beryllium the archetypal House subordinate successful implicit 2 decades to beryllium expelled. He would travel Ohio Democratic Rep. James A. Traficant, who was removed by his colleagues successful 2002. That incidental followed a condemnation — helium was recovered blameworthy of 10 charges, including bribery, pursuing a national racketeering and corruption trial.
Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-N.Y.) earlier this period pushed a Santos expulsion resolution, the 2nd effort aft a Democratic-led effort earlier this year. Only 24 Republicans supported D’Esposito’s measure, arsenic good arsenic 155 Democrats.
During that push, the Ethics Committee made an antithetic disclosure, saying they would denote their adjacent steps against Santos connected oregon earlier this Friday. They shared that the sheet had issued 37 subpoenas, combed done much than 170,000 pages of records and reached retired to astir 40 witnesses arsenic portion of the ongoing probe. That was triggered successful aboriginal March, aft a bid of quality reports raised concerns that determination was “unlawful activity” successful his bid for office.
When the probe began, then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy urged GOP members to amusement restraint. At the time, helium said a ceremonial removal effort should beryllium informed by an morals report.
“I volition clasp him to the aforesaid modular I clasp anyone other elected to Congress. If [we find] immoderate way, erstwhile we spell done Ethics, that helium has breached the law, past we volition region him,” McCarthy said successful January. “But it’s not my role. I judge successful the regularisation of law. A idiosyncratic is guiltless until proven guilty.”
Now, it seems McCarthy’s successor volition person to determine however to grip specified an morals study — and if it should trigger different effort for Santos’ removal. Johnson, successful his archetypal interrogation arsenic speaker, antecedently argued Santos deserved his owed process. The Louisiana Republican has not weighed successful connected the morals study specifically, however, and declined to remark connected the substance to POLITICO Monday.
“He is not convicted. He is charged,” Johnson told Fox News’ Sean Hannity successful precocious October. “If we’re going to expel radical from Congress conscionable due to the fact that they are charged with a transgression oregon accused, that’s a problem.”
Since the interior reappraisal began, Santos has faced astir 2 twelve charges, including bribery, ligament fraud and individuality theft. And erstwhile helium faced a superseding indictment past period that accrued his complaint number from 13 to 23, Santos continued to support his innocence to reporters, vowing helium volition not resign oregon prosecute a plea bargain. Santos has pleaded not blameworthy to each charges. He’s besides signaled that he’s launching different bid for the seat.
His proceedings is acceptable to statesman successful September 2024.
Katherine Tully-McManus contributed to this report.