George Santos expected to see expulsion vote Friday, House GOP told to vote their 'conscience'

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WASHINGTON – House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said he has “real reservations” about expelling embattled Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., from Congress as the lower chamber gears to boot the Long Island Republican from the House on Friday.

“I personally have real reservations about doing this,” Johnson said at a weekly House GOP leadership news conference. “I’m concerned about a precedent that may be set for that.”

Members expelled from Congress in recent times have only been removed after being convicted of a crime. While Santos has been charged with multiple federal crimes, he has denied all wrongdoing and has yet to go through a trial.

Johnson and a handful of other House Republicans have expressed skepticism over ousting Santos before a verdict. In a speech on the House floor on Tuesday night, Santos argued his expulsion would set a “dangerous precedent.”

Johnson declined to commit to a yes or no vote on expelling Santos but said that GOP leadership have not been working to shore up support for either side, instead telling lawmakers to vote their “conscience” if expulsion makes it to the House floor.

Efforts to expel Santos reignited after the House Ethics Committee released its long-awaited report into his alleged misconduct on the campaign trail. The report found substantial evidence that Santos improperly used campaign funds for his own personal and financial benefit.

Santos previously survived two expulsion attempts as lawmakers deferred to the House Ethics Committee to conclude its investigation. Shortly after the report’s release, multiple members who originally voted against ousting Santos flipped in support of his removal.

In the face of the rapidly shoring support for his removal, Santos has remained defiant and has refused to resign, telling his detractors to get it over with and “put up or shut up.”

U.S. Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., speaks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol on November 28, 2023 in Washington, DC.
U.S. Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., speaks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol on November 28, 2023 in Washington, DC.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: George Santos to see expulsion vote Friday, support to oust him builds