Rep. George Santos, the embattled Republican facing a House ethics probe and the possibility of years behind bars after being indicted on federal charges, said he intends to run for reelection in New York even if he’s expelled from Congress.
“Elections are tricky; there’s no predetermined outcome,” he told CNN’s Manu Raju on Friday of his believed ability to win in 2024. The House Ethics Committee has signaled that it will share an update on its investigation on, or before, Nov. 17.
Santos, whose full interview with Raju is set to air Sunday, insisted that his personal background wasn’t a factor when his constituents voted for him and that it shouldn’t affect him now.
“Nobody elected me because I played volleyball or not. Nobody elected me because I graduated college,” he said, appearing to acknowledge past falsehoods he’d told about attending Baruch College on a sports scholarship and going to New York University. He’s also accused of lying about his professional career and volunteer history, as well as his family’s background and supposedly Jewish heritage. (HuffPost maintains a running list of his claims.)
“Nobody knew my biography, nobody opened my biography who voted for me,” Santos told Raju, while denying that he’s done anything wrong.
It wasn’t until after he was elected last year that discrepancies in his resume and background gained notice, prompting calls for him to resign, which he has continued to ignore.
Many of his House colleagues have attempted to forcefully oust him, but so far without success.
On Wednesday he easily survived a vote to expel him from the chamber, with members ultimately deciding to let Santos stay until there are further developments in his criminal case or House probe.
“Santos has not been criminally convicted yet of the offenses cited in the resolution, nor has he been found guilty of ethics offenses in the House internal process,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who voted against removing Santos this week, told Axios. “We can’t abandon due process and the rule of law in the House of Representatives.”
Santos’ criminal trial is scheduled to start in September 2024 ― two months before he hopes to get reelected to New York’s 3rd Congressional District.
He has pleaded not guilty to 23 federal charges, including fraud, money laundering, identity theft, and making materially false statements to the House.
Santos allegedly stole the identities of his campaign donors and then used their credit cards to ring up tens of thousands of dollars in unauthorized charges. Some of the money ended up in his personal bank account, prosecutors say.
This story originally appeared on HuffPost