Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) said Friday that the expulsion of Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) from the House sets a bad precent, as he “hasn’t been convicted of anything.”
Burchett, who voted against ousting the embattled New York Republican, claimed other lawmakers have done equally — if not worse — things.
“We have one Congress member who has had at least an ongoing relation for quite some time with a Chinese communist spy, that’s been documented. You have one that’s possibly violated a immigration laws, you have one that’s called a fire alarm, which at least in Tennessee, that’s a pretty serious violation,” he said in an interview with “The Hill on NewsNation.” “And we’re not talking about kicking those people out.”
His comments come after Santos was booted from Congress in a 311-114-2 vote on Friday morning, just weeks after the House Ethics Committee’s scathing report claimed “substantial evidence” exists to show that he committed serious federal crimes.
“George Santos hasn’t been convicted of anything,” Burchett further argued. “And in America, we’re still innocent until proven guilty.”
Asked by host Blake Burman whether he would apply the same principle to Sen. Bob Menendez — who is facing calls to resign after being indicted in September on allegations that he and his wife accepted over $600,000 in bribes on behalf of interests in Egypt — Burchett reluctantly agreed.
“He’s not been convicted. Of course, that’s up to the Senate. The Senate probably has different rules than we do,” he replied. “But no. If he has not been convicted, then you’re still innocent until proven guilty.”
“Until then, you know, nothing should change,” he added, while claiming that former President Trump received the opposite treatment.
Burman also pressed the Tennessee Republican on a purported vote on launching a former impeachment inquiry into President Biden and his family’s finances.
Stopping short of calling it a “waste of time,” Burchett acknowledged that “nothing’s going to come of it anyway.”
“The Justice Department is so conflicted right now,” he told the NewsNation host. “They’re not going to… they’re not going to go after him.”
“I don’t think it’s a waste of time,” Burchett added. “I think the American public needs to see what’s happening.”
NewsNation is owned by Nexstar Media Group, which also owns The Hill.