House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says embattled first-term Rep. George Santos, New York Republican, is unlikely to have access to anything top secret.
“He’s got a long way to go to earn trust,” Mr. McCarthy, California Republican, told reporters at his weekly presser, though he added that Mr. Santos was duly elected and so expulsion is not on the table.
“The one thing I do know is — you apply the Constitution equally to all Americans. The voters of his district have elected him. He is seated. He is part of the Republican Conference,” he said.
Mr. Santos will not serve on any key committees this Congress, including the Judiciary, Ways and Means, and Budget panels. Some House Republican lawmakers have gone further, saying they do not want him seated on any committees.
Mr. McCarthy noted the concerns about Mr. Santos and said he will be facing the Ethics committee.
“If there is something that is found, he will be dealt with in that manner, but they have a voice in that process. If anything is found to be wrong, he will be held accountable exactly as anybody else in this body would be,” he said.
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“That is the fair way to handle anything you go. And that’s how I deal with any single issue that ever comes up,” the new Republican speaker said.
Fellow New York Republicans and GOP officials in Mr. Santos’ home county called on him to resign Wednesday, sentiments to which Mr. Santos responded on Twitter.
“I was elected to serve the people of #NY03 not the party & politicians, I remain committed to doing that and regret to hear that local officials refuse to work with my office to deliver results to keep our community safe and lower the cost of living,” he tweeted. He added, “I will NOT resign!”
Following Mr. Santos’ election to Congress, the truth emerged about the first-term lawmaker’s biography and claims about his life, including false statements about earning a college degree, fabricating his family background, and working in high-profile finance firms on Wall Street.
Mr. Santos is also facing multiple investigations.
Anne Donnelly, the Republican Nassau County district attorney, opened an investigation of Mr. Santos in late December, and two House Democrats from New York — Dan Goldman and Ritchie Torres — filed a complaint Tuesday with the Ethics committee investigation.
Federal prosecutors are following up on the financial allegations, and the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint against Mr. Santos with the Federal Election Commission related to other purported violations.