January 30, 2023

Two New York House Democrats, Reps. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and Joe Morelle (D-NY), are demanding Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) deny Rep. George Santos (R-NY) access to classified information.

In a Wednesday letter to the House speaker, Meeks and Morelle highlighted the myriad of “deceptive actions,” “concerning allegations about his behavior” and the multiple investigations Santos is under. These, the lawmakers wrote, “suggest he cannot be trusted with confidential and classified information that could threaten the United States’ national security.”

“As the newly elected Speaker of the House of Representatives, we call on you to limit Congressman George Santos’ ability to access classified materials, including preventing him from attending any classified briefings and limiting his access to such information through his committee assignments,” the New York Democrats wrote.

While it is unlikely that Santos will have routine access to classified information as a member of the Small Business and the Science, Space and Technology Committees, the letter is another push from Democrats to limit Santos’ power in Congress.

“It is clear that Congressman George Santos has violated the public’s trust on various occasions and his unfettered access to our nation’s secrets presents a significant risk to the national security of this country,” they continued. “We urge you to act swiftly to prevent George Santos from abusing his position and endangering our nation.”

The request from the lawmakers comes a day after McCarthy shrugged off his responsibility to do anything about Santos, telling reporters that Santos will be removed from Congress if the Ethics Committee finds he broke the law.

“If for some way (sic) when we go through Ethics that he has broken the law, then we will remove him, but it’s not my role,” McCarthy said on Tuesday. “I believe in the rule of law. A person’s innocent until proven guilty.”

When asked if he is standing by Santos because his resignation would make House Republicans’ majority narrower than ever, McCarthy said, “No. You know why I’m standing by him? Because his constituents voted for him. I do not have the power simply because if I disagree with somebody or what they have said that I remove them from elected office.”

McCarthy added he will hold Santos to the same standard he would hold anyone else elected to Congress and reiterated the same bizarre cop-out — using President Biden as an example — that other politicians have lied before Santos.

“Let’s not be sensational,” he said.

“He has a responsibility to uphold what they voted for, to work and have their voice here, but at any time if it rises to a legal level, we will deal with it then,” McCarthy added.

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