A CNN interview with Rep. George Santos (R-NY) ended abruptly Tuesday night, with the embattled Congressman refusing to answer questions about his extensive history of lies and anchor Erin Burnett telling Santos that his insistence on talking about President Joe Biden and other Democrats was “irrelevant to the conversation.”
Burnett began the interview with Santos by addressing House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s Tuesday decision to cave to the extremist wing of his party by opening an impeachment inquiry focused on the Biden family’s business dealings. As Burnett noted, Santos himself released a statement saying that he had yet to see “sufficient evidence worthy of impeachment coming from the three House committees investigating President Biden.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and MAGA Republican Elise Stefanik are among those who claim no prior knowledge of Santos’s deceit.
Santos responded that he supports the impeachment inquiry, saying that House Republicans need to “broaden the scope for the committee so that they can continuously dig deeper.”
Get the Daily Brief
The news you care about, reported on by the people who care about you:
He compared McCarthy’s decision to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to open an impeachment inquiry into former President Donald Trump in 2019.
“I guess it’s eye-for-an-eye at this point,” Santos said. He insisted that CNN should “bring Joe Biden on the network and grill him,” while also making wild claims about the President.
Burnett turned the conversation to Santos’s own legal troubles, noting that McCarthy could call for a vote to expel Santos from Congress at any point. McCarthy has said that he will not support Santos’s bid for reelection.
The first-term Congressman has admitted to lying to voters about graduating from Baruch College (where he claimed he was a star volleyball player) and New York University, working directly for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, and living at a fake address in his congressional district. He provided no additional proof to back up claims that he founded a charity called Friends of Pets, that he attended the Horace Mann prep school, that his grandparents escaped the Holocaust, that his mom died due to the September 11 terrorist attacks, and that he lost four employees in the June 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting.
In May, Santos was charged in federal court with seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, two counts of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives, and one count of theft of public funds.
Santos told Burnett that he would not resign from Congress if the House Ethics Committee’s investigation into him turned up evidence of wrongdoing.
The interview began to go off the rails after Burnett played a series of clips in which Santos made many of his false claims about his own background and resume. When Burnett asked Santos to explain why he made those false claims, the Congressman returned to the topic of Joe Biden instead.
“Erin, you know what would be great? I’m not deflecting, but I’m just going to call you out here and CNN. Have you brought Joe Biden on the network and spoken about all the things he’s said across the last 46 years?” said Santos.
He went on to insist that the impeachment inquiry was the premise of their interview.
Burnett responded that the impeachment inquiry was “completely irrelevant” to the conversation about Santos’s alleged wrong-doing.
“To be very clear,” Burnett said, “you and I spoke this afternoon and I said we would begin with impeachment and talk about many other things about you. You are well aware of that, so it would be unfair to claim anything otherwise.”
“I’ll continue to say, when CNN starts pressing [Democratic Sen. Richard] Blumenthal, Elizabeth Warren, and Joe Biden, I’ll continue to talk to you guys. But for now, no, I’m not answering these questions,” Santos said before Burnett ended the interview.