Editor’s note: Watch CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju’s interview with GOP Rep. Jorge Santos Sunday at 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT on CNN’s “Inside Politics.”
Accused Rep. George Santos says he plans to run for his seat in 2024 even if he is kicked out of Congress, insisting that fabricating large parts of his life story will have no impact on voters next year.
In a wide-ranging interview with CNN’s Manu Raju on Friday, Santos, a Republican from New York, said his constituents were not voting for him based on his resume, and said he would “definitely” run in 2024 if he were to be expelled — something that could That could happen as soon as this month if the House Ethics Committee recommends such a dramatic step.
Santos, who is under investigation by the Ethics Commission, has pleaded not guilty to 23 federal charges, including 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 House of Representatives. The superseding indictment filed last month provided new and damaging details about Santos’ alleged efforts for personal gain through his campaign.
Adding to the congressman’s mounting legal woes, Santos’ former campaign treasurer, Nancy Marks, pleaded guilty last month to a charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Marks said in court that she and Santos intentionally filled federal documents with false claims and information.
During the interview, Santos defended himself, saying he did nothing wrong despite the evidence collected by federal prosecutors. He also dismissed voters’ concerns about lying about his past, something he has admitted to doing in the past and did again on Friday.
“No one knew my CV. No one opened my CV and who voted for me in the election campaign,” he said.
Referring to past misrepresentations about his background, Santos said: “No one elected me because I played volleyball or not. No one elected me because I graduated from college or not. “People elected me because I said I came here to fight the swamp, that I came here to lower inflation, create more jobs, make life more affordable, and commit to America.”
Santos previously admitted to lying about parts of his resume, including graduating from college. CNN’s KFILE reported that while Santos’ resume sometimes listed an education at Baruch College, a college spokesperson said she could find no record of anyone with his name or birthday ever attending the school. Santos also falsely claimed to be a member of the Baruch volleyball team.
The decision to expel Santos fell short of the required two-thirds majority in the House of Representatives this week, but supporters of the measure said they would push for a vote on expulsion in the future.
But the New York Republican said he believes he can win a confident primary and a positive outlook for his general election prospects in the swing district he represents. “Look, could I have won the general election last time? “No one said I could,” he said. “Elections are difficult. There is no predetermined outcome.”
On Thursday, New York Republicans expressed confidence that House Republicans will ultimately vote to expel Santos after the committee releases its report.
“At the end of the day. I think the ethics report will prove and point out that it’s as bad as we think it is,” Rep. Mark Molinaro said. “There’s no room for that kind of nonsense here anymore.”
“If the report says what I think we all know, and he’s already admitted most of it, then I don’t think there will be any debate about why he shouldn’t be fired,” Rep. Anthony D’Esposito said. .
CNN’s Devan Cole and Greg Craig contributed to this report.