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Rep. David Joyce (R-OH), Is Interviewed About George Santos Expelled From House. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired December 01, 2023 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Melanie, hang on for a second. We want to get to Manu Raju who's got someone with. Manu?
SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: George Santos there. George Santos coming down the stairs there of the Capitol. Now you hear Manu trying to get to him as soon as he gets him. It looks like he isn't saying anything to anyone. He has been talking a heck of a lot before this vote. But now you see this vote 310. The threshold was 290 to kick him out. We are waiting to see if he says anything there. Let's listen in. Nope. Jumped in the car, closed the door, rolled up.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Mr. Santos, any comment? Mr. Santos, any comment?
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: OK. Let's go to the House floor guys. He just gaveled. The speaker's gaveling. Go to the House floor.
Speaker Johnson is in the chair, which is quite significant. Let's stand by and see if what he's about to say. I just saw him drop the gavel. There we go.
REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA), HOUSE SPEAKER: On this vote, the yeas are 311, the nays are 114. With two recorded as present. Two-thirds voting in the affirmative, the resolution is adopted, and a motion to reconsider is laid upon the table. The clerk will notify the governor of the state of New York of the action of the House.
SIDNER: That means, George Santos is toast.
JOHNSON: Under Clause 5D of rule 20, the Chair announces to the House that in light of the expulsion of the gentleman from New York, Mr. Santos --
BOLDUAN: So we now have breaking news and the decision from the House of Representatives on this historic vote. George Santos has been voted, expelled from the House of Representatives by a two-thirds majority of the House, the final tally 311. Fellow House members voting to out him. The threshold was 290 and they far past that.
David Chalian standing by. The sixth member of Congress in history, to be expelled from the House of Representatives, David.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Who just walked by himself out the chamber before the Speaker actually gaveled the vote to its conclusion, and got into that car and drove away. No longer a member of Congress, as he was just moments ago, you heard the speaker instruct the clerk to notify the governor of New York of the vacancy in this seat. And this is now, you know, the first time as you guys have said, where you're not dealing with a traitor from the Confederacy or dealing with a convicted criminal.
This is the first time that somebody has been expelled from Congress that doesn't fit into one of those categories, which is that notion of precedent that George Santos was raising, and some Republicans were raising as an area of concern that this was setting a precedent. But this is quite astonishing when you think a year ago, when it was first reported by "The New York Times" and others how much he had lied to the public about who he was, what he was claiming to be a total and complete fraud.
And then, as you noted that ethics report that showed that he was using campaign contributions to fund his personal life. Now, he's obviously pleaded not guilty to the federal charges that are against him. He claims his innocence, and that'll be adjudicated in a court of law. But his fellow representatives in Congress said he's no more befitting to serve in the People's House.
And now there is going to be a real political fallout, both in how the House is governed with a even narrower Republican majority now and in the battle for control of the House, because this is a critical district that helped give Republicans the majority in the last cycle, and now is going to be really up for grabs, both in a special election. And then next November.
BERMAN: David, I love the fact that you noted that George Santos walked out of the chamber even before the gavel came down because he saw the numbers. He was looking up at the screen and it was clear, he did not have the votes. And Abby, he didn't have the votes, despite efforts from Mike Johnson, the Speaker of the House, I do wonder if this reflects on him at all, if this can be seen as a test for this relatively new speaker?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN ANCHOR & SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, I think it's a good question. In some ways, maybe, maybe not because George Santos has -- he's burned a lot of bridges in that chamber. Let's just put it that way. I mean, in addition to being a spectacle, as you saw as he walked out of the chamber, with all of those cameras and reporters following him, he has not dealt with this quietly. This has been loud. This has been an embarrassment not just to the other Republican lawmakers from his state who have been on the front lines of trying to get him out of this chamber, but it's been a stain on the Republican Party in general.
SIDNER: Abby, I'm so, so sorry to interrupt you. We have Melanie Zanona who has just talked to the Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson. Let's listen in. Melanie, what do you have?
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: No, no, no. Give me a second. Give me a second.
BERMAN: Oh, we're not quite ready. We're not quite ready. But now we are. OK. Go ahead Melanie.
ZANONA: Sorry about that. I was bending down and fixing my microphone because we just had the speaker walk by. We asked him for comment about this historic moment, having one of his own Republican members expelled. He said he would not comment on that. Instead, he tried to turn his attention to other issues that he feels are important facing the House, including getting an aid package to Israel passed through the House, so he would not comment.
But it was interesting. Kate noted earlier that speaker Johnson presided over that vote. He's the one who brought the gavel down when he announced that George Santos would be expelled. So he had a very solemn tone when he did that. Normally, he doesn't have to be in the chair presiding over those moments. But clearly, he understood the significance and the weight of this moment.
He himself of course, as we recorded earlier, voted against explosion, but at the same time, he told his members, they are free to vote their conscience and they should vote however their districts want them to vote. But no doubt, this is going to have huge impacts for Johnson. Now his razor thin majority just got even smaller, it's going to be harder for them to pass things like government funding, aid to Israel, especially a major visions in the GOP.
And meanwhile, they're going to have a special election now, at some point over the next few months where they're going to have to fight to hang on to that seat. It's going to be a tough fight. So clearly, GOP leadership Speaker Johnson feeling the weight of this moment right now, guys.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. And this is a weighty moment in history. This is only the sixth member of the House of Representatives who ever be expelled from the chamber. Let me -- let's bring in former Republican member of the House Adam Kinzinger. Congressman, what do you think of this?
ADAM KINZINGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's a huge deal. I'm interested that Speaker Johnson voted because typically speakers don't vote unless they want to make a very strong statement. But look, I mean, it's a good on the House of Representatives for doing it. You know, this isn't just not -- as if this wouldn't be a big thing. This isn't just somebody that used campaign money, he was a fraud. And he got elected under fraudulent claims.
Everything about him was a lie. And he didn't even have any humility about him. He was trying to run the Donald Trump playbook of double down, speak tougher, go after the quote, liberals who are going after you are the enemy within the camp. And so it is really a good move by the House of Representatives.
I mean, the fact that only six have been expelled, goes to show and, you know, we know how much corruption has been in the House in the past, goes to show how high that bar is to get expelled. But it was the right thing to do. Now, the Republicans have even tighter majority, it's going to be interesting to get this stuff done. It may force them to reach out to Democrats more, but this was the right vote to defend what integrity is left in the House of Representatives.
SIDNER: Adam I'm curious what you think that says, though, about the Republican leadership, when you had the majority of the leadership coming out just before and saying, hey, we are going to vote to keep him there not to expel him? And then you see these numbers. What does it say about leadership?
KINZINGER: Well, it's concerning. And it's weird, because when I was in Congress for 12 years, typically leadership when they would vote on an issue, they vote based on how to defend the integrity of the House. And sometimes on the toughest votes that like, you know, if there was a vote for some package that nobody liked, they'd vote for it. That's what leadership is.
So in this case, leadership should have been the ones out there voting to expel George Santos to give those who are voting to expel George Santos cover. Plus, it was just right to defend the House. The fact that they didn't goes to show, again, that you're watching this collapse of leadership in the House, more to like, let's please the base than it is to like, let's defend the institution.
And I think that goes to show some of the reason that the House itself has lost, respect has lost integrity, and has lost, you know, that I don't know that ability to be the House of all people. It was an interesting vote for me because I would have thought for sure that leadership would have voted to expel as the tough thing to do, and instead they took the easy vote for themselves.
BERMAN: We still have Abby and David with us right now, one of the things that Congressman Kinzinger said it was really interesting, this sort of made my ears perk up a little bit, was when he said that Santos was trying to use the Trump playbook, the politics of victimhood here, and that it didn't work. Does that maybe say something about where politics might be headed or the limits at least of that kind of strategy? Abby you first.
PHILLIP: Yes, I mean, I think it's certainly the limits on it. I mean, it was a poor man's Donald Trump impression in some ways. He tried to sort of -- just mimic it to a point where it was almost, it was so transparent. And that that is one of the reasons I think that it probably didn't work. But the strategy wasn't just about victimhood. It was also just about never stopping to talk.
I mean, this morning, George Santos was on "Fox News," hours before this vote. It's hard for me to understand how that would be seen as helpful. He's -- he doubled down at exactly the wrong moment. He in an interview with Manu Raju just a couple of weeks ago, was found -- was caught basically, in lies that were then laid out in the Ethics Committee report.
This is part of the problem with Santos, part of the problem for those more than 100 Republican members who voted for this expulsion. He was a completely unhelpful distraction to the institution of the House of Representatives that could not be ignored. Santos was not going to repent and then quietly do the work of his district. He was always interested in being in the spotlight, and that I think a lot of members thought was just completely untenable.
BOLDUAN: One thing we don't know about what's next is kind of what this means necessarily for the kind of the final outcome of the seat, David. Do you think how this has played out today and over the past few weeks that this makes it more or less likely that Democrats pick this seat up?
CHALIAN: Well, I think you are hearing a huge sigh of relief from many of the New York Republicans that were elected in 2020 -- in 2022, to deliver the majority to the House. And they now don't have this distraction to deal with back home. And they're glad that the distraction has gone in December of '23. And not hanging around all the way to November of '24. So I think that's the most immediate impact is that those vulnerable Republicans, many in Biden districts and close competitive districts in and around New York City and suburbs and upstate a bit. These -- this is the -- this is one of the most major battlegrounds of control of the House of Representatives in 2024.
And having this joke of a person in George Santos being removed as this poster boy of New York Republicans back home is just going to be a welcome development, which is why you saw Mike Lawler and others fighting so hard for this expulsion vote. I -- it's going to be a very difficult race going forward, no doubt. It's going to be a real battle. But I think that most immediate impact is just a sigh of relief for them.
BERMAN: David Chalian, Abby Phillip, former Congressman Adam Kinzinger, again, history made George Santos expelled from the U.S. House of Representatives just the sixth member of Congress ever kicked out of office. And we saw him depart before the gavel even went down. Again, we've got much more news on this reaction for members who voted on this, plus some more breaking news and some major legal decisions today. So stay with us.
BERMAN: All right, breaking news, Republican Congressman George Santos from New York, I should say former congressman, kicked out of the U.S. House of Representatives, 311 of his colleagues voted to remove him. He is just a seventh -- sixth U.S. Congressman ever removed from office. That's despite House Speaker Mike Johnson voting to save him at the very last minute.
With me now is Congressman Dave Joyce, Republican from Ohio, who sits on the Ethics Committee and chaired if I'm right, the Subcommittee on the report on George Santos. And just let me check, Congressman, how did you just vote? REP. DAVID JOYCE (R-OH): I voted to have him removed from office because having been the chair of the Investigative Subcommittee in the report that we prepared, if anybody has any doubts as to whether or not he's unsuitable to be a member of Congress, please take the time to read the 60-page report. We have reviewed over 172,000 documents compiled them into a report that details the documents throughout that prove the case in which he was removed today.
BERMAN: What's your reaction to what just happened, this history made before your eyes?
JOYCE: Well, look, it's a sad day to remove members because basically he defrauded the voters of his district. His life was made up and was a lie. And then he used his campaign as though it's a scam the whole time taking money from donors and turning it into his personal use. And we all have to file those campaign reports. So it was one of those things where I know that he had personally ripped off other members by taking it and they were going to try to be nice and give him a $2,000 contribution.
And next thing, you know, it's sewn up her credit card just $5,000 and then he ended up -- those numbers ended up having the FEC investigate them which cost them even more money. So if that's not enough to convince some other members that he should be removed from office, then I don't know what they're waiting for.
I've heard some contradictions here. Like what, you know, Duncan Hunter, well, he wasn't removed. Well, what happens, so your viewers understand, is that we created an Investigative Subcommittee and then we investigated those things which DOJ was not looking at, which happened to be the internal documents, one has to file here, your financial disclosure forms, your campaign forms, and we found things that we turned over to the DOJ that they weren't even looking at.
So that is another investigation that's independent of him. But in the Hunter case, they didn't have an Investigative Subcommittee. They waited until the Department of Justice was through their investigation, that he pled guilty to something. And then he was removed from office after he pled guilty.
BERMAN: You said if the Ethics Committee report wasn't enough to get amongst your fellow members, you don't know what they're waiting for. It didn't convince House Speaker Mike Johnson. I mean, how do you feel about him stepping into the last minute and voting to save George Santos?
JOYCE: Well, you know, he told us to vote our conscience. So that's what his conscience told him to do, I guess. But for me, it was a pretty simple case, having been there since the beginning. And one thing about, you know, 25 years as a prosecutor before I got to this place, the good part about a numbers case or checks case is I don't need anybody to explain it to me, the numbers speak for you -- by themselves. We subpoenaed the bank accounts. We subpoenaed the checks. We showed the movement of the money from his campaign -- into his campaign from his campaign into a corporation that he created, that allegedly was doing social media, right out of that account into his personal accounts, and then pay for his personal expenses. It's not that deep, it's theft.
BERMAN: So what did you learn about how Speaker Mike Johnson in this process, through his vote?
JOYCE: Well, look, there's a lot of members who voted. There's more who voted to keep him than ever voted to take him out. Everybody has to look in their own conscience. But the Constitution clearly gives us the right then the duty to determine the standards of conduct of which we're going to employ here. And it's high time we start doing that. Because if someone lied to their constituents to get here, I heard some people saying, well, you know, the people of New York three are not represented now. And that's a shame.
Well, it's a shame that investigative forces didn't find all this stuff before he got here. His own campaign and night in the 2020 race, came to him after doing ample research at him and said, you're living the lie. You're not who you said you are. And he -- they quit or he fired him. He started a new campaign. And at 22, he just happened to get lucky because they had a strong campaign from governor's race for Lee Zeldin that dragged a lot of -- that helped a lot of Republicans over the finish line.
And a lot of good Republicans are there and they don't want to be associated with this taint of having somebody like this, who's a liar and a thief.
BERMAN: Yes, look, it took good journalism to reveal a lot of these things. It wasn't until "The New York Times" story came out that most Americans first learned about all this. Can you tell me what you think swung the vote at the end? There actually seem to be some momentum for keeping him in office in the in the minutes and hours before the actual vote? Was there one thing that you think made the difference?
JOYCE: Yes, that's true. And yesterday, I had a bet at the number had been 150, voting for expulsion. And today, the number was about 105, I believe, and 112 voting to keep him here but the one of the members came forward yesterday at the end of the talk. And then today came forward and put out the e-mail for those who may not understood where he was coming from, and explain that not only he but his mother, were ripped off by this campaign.
And so when you start ripping off other members, if that's not enough to convince people that maybe you shouldn't be here, well, then I don't know what it's going to take.
BERMAN: When you're talking about your Ohio colleague, Max Miller, that that his statement, you think made the difference there?
JOYCE: Correct. You know, and so, I guess that we are dropping from 150 to about 80 or so 70. And I think Max's last minute e-mail to all the members determine the outcome for him because a lot of us didn't know that, they may not have believed my investigative report. Sorry about that. But they believe Max that when it came personally from him that he was ripped off, his mother was ripped off, and that he had to spend money then to defend himself against the FEC's allegations.
BERMAN: All right, Congressman David Joyce, you've been in the middle of this for some time. We appreciate your time today, coming out and talking to us right after this historic vote. Thank you, sir.
JOYCE: Thank you.
BERMAN: We're going to have much more of the breaking news after a quick break.
BOLDUAN: There's some big news coming out of an appeals court in Washington, D.C., a new decision regarding Donald Trump that has huge precedent setting implications for both Donald Trump and the presidency. A court ruling that Trump does not have presidential immunity from lawsuits filed against him over January 6th. CNN's Paula Reid joining us as well as CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig, both here. Paula, what did the appeals court decide?
PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, we've been waiting for this decision for quite some time. And here, the court holding that former President Trump does not have immunity from civil suits connected to his actions on January 6th.
Now this does not mean that he is liable for his actions on January 6th, what this means is that Capitol police officers, members of Congress and others who have tried to sue Trump related to January 6, they will get their day in court.