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Speaker Johnson says he has 'real reservations' about upcoming vote to expel Santos

"We've not whipped the vote and we wouldn't," Johnson says ahead of the expected Santos expulsion vote on Thursday

Published: November 29, 2023 11:50am

House Speaker Mike Johnson said Wednesday he has "real reservations" about an upcoming vote to expel fellow GOP Congressman George Santos.

Santos, of New York, has admitted having fabricated much of his resume for his winning 2020 congressional campaign. And the House Ethics Committee recently concluded he misspent campaign money.

Johnson suggested such matters be resolved in a court of law, before deciding whether to expel Santos.

"We believe in the rule of law," he said. "There are people of good faith who make an argument, both pro and con, for the expulsion resolution for Santos."

The House vote to expel Santos, who had refused to resign, could be held as early as Thursday.

"There are people who say you have to uphold the rule of law and allow for someone to be convicted in a criminal court before this tough penalty would be exacted on someone," Johnson also said. "That's been the precedent so far."

He also pointed out some argue Santos should be expelled because the Ethics committee investigation found "infractions against the House itself."

The committee's investigation found that Santos misused campaign funds for personal expenses and "engaged in fraudulent conduct in connection with RedStone Strategies LLC."

Santos was indicted in October in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. 

Johnson also said Wednesday he and his leadership team are not trying to persuade House members to vote one way or another. 

"We're going to allow people to vote their conscience," he said. "I think it's the only appropriate thing we can do. We've not whipped the vote and we wouldn't.

"I trust that people will make that decision thoughtfully and in good faith. I personally have real reservations about doing this. I'm concerned about a precedent that may be set for that. So everybody's working through that and we'll see how they vote tomorrow."

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