Rep. Barbara Lee is calling out two of her fellow Democratic California Senate hopefuls — Reps. Adam Schiff and Katie Porter — over the House vote to expel embattled Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.).
“George Santos lied about everything—from 9/11 and the Holocaust to his own name. He defrauded voters, stole money, and faces criminal charges in two countries. I voted to expel him from Congress today,” Lee said on X, the platform previously known as Twitter.
Porter “voted to save him,” Lee said, and Schiff “wasn’t even there.”
Santos faces 23 federal charges ahead of his trial, set to start next September. In May, Santos pleaded not guilty to 13 counts over accusations that he misled donors and misrepresented his finances.
Schiff didn’t vote due to flight delays, according to a letter to the Speaker explaining his absence that was obtained by The Hill. Schiff wrote he would have voted yes on the expulsion resolution if he had been able to.
Porter, meanwhile, said in a statement that Santos “clearly violated the public trust” and said she would have voted to censure him — and thinks “it would be appropriate” for him to resign. But she said the House risks setting a “dangerous precedent” if it expelled him at this point.
“The gravity of expulsion demands due process—by the Ethics Committee, our courts, or another impartial fact finder. To date, the Ethics Committee has not finished its investigation, and Rep. Santos has not been convicted. The House would set a dangerous precedent if we expelled a member without allowing one of these processes to conclude,” Porter said.
Santos pleaded not guilty again last week to 10 additional charges over accusations that he inflated his campaign finance reports and charged his donors’ credit cards without authorization.
The House Ethics Committee is also investigating Santos, with a report due out by Nov. 17.
Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-N.Y.), who led the failed expulsion effort, says he is “confident” the Ethics report will convince holdouts that Santos should not be in Congress.
The three California Democrats — Lee, Schiff and Porter — are competing for the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s seat in the upper chamber in what will be one of the most closely watched Democratic primaries of the 2024 cycle.
Sen. Laphonza Butler (D) currently holds the seat, named by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to fill the vacancy after Feinstein’s passing — but Butler said last month that she won’t jump into the crowded primary to try and hold onto the seat in 2024.
Updated: Nov. 7 at 5:15 pm.