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- House Speaker Kevin McCarthy got annoyed at reporters Wednesday.
- He was being questioned about why he continues to back Rep. George Santos.
- Santos invented swaths of his background, and is facing a federal investigations over his finances.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy became irate when questioned by reporters Wednesday about why he continues to back Rep. George Santos, despite the congressman lying about his professional and personal life.
At a press briefing, a reporter challenged McCarthy on why he had removed Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff from the House Intelligence Committee on the basis of accusations he lied, while Santos continues to hold the committee assignments.
The reporter said that McCarthy was avoiding answering her question by saying that Santos had been legitimately elected.
—Henry Rodgers (@henryrodgersdc) January 25, 2023
“You asked me a question. When I answer it, it’s the answer to your question. You don’t get to determine whether I answered your question or not, okay? In all respect,” McCarthy snapped back.
Appearing angry at the line of questioning, he continued: “You just raised a question and I’m going to be very clear with you. The Intel Committee is different. You know why? Because what happens in the Intel Committee, you don’t know,” he said, pointing at the reporter to underscore his point.
“What happens in the Intel Committee, [with the] secrets that are going on in the world other members of Congress don’t know,” McCarthy said.
News organisations have been combing through claims Santos has made about his career and personal history, and found many of them to be fabrications. Santos’ lies only came to light after he was elected to represent New York’s 7th district last November.
He is also facing investigation by federal authorities in New York into his finances, and by Brazilian authorities into his alleged use of a stolen checkbook.
McCarthy is under increasing pressure to take action against Santos as calls grow for the New York congressman to resign. But McCarthy has resisted doing so, claiming that Santos has a right to serve in Congress, and saying Tuesday that he would only seek to punish the congressman if it was shown he had broken the law.
At Wednesday’s press conference, McCarthy again pushed back at claims he was seeking to preserve the GOP’s narrow congressional minority by refusing to punish Santos.
He said that if all politicians were held to exactingly high standards, President Joe Biden would be unfit to serve.
His comments came on the same day as a letter, signed by House Democrats Joe Morelle and Gregory Meeks, was published urging McCarthy to deny Santos any opportunity to access classified information.
“We urge you to act swiftly to prevent George Santos from abusing his position and endangering our nation,” the two New York congressmen said.
They wrote: “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.”