Congressman 23-count superseding indictment Tuesday.is vehemently denying new allegations of credit card fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy that were brought in a
Speaking with reporters Wednesday morning,, a New York Republican, reiterated what he told CBS News Tuesday night — that he will fight the charges “until the bitter end.”
He walked through several of the counts against him, including explosive allegations that he had made unauthorized charges on his donors’ credit cards to support his campaign. Federal prosecutors say in one instance, Santos racked up $15,800 in charges on a campaign contributor’s credit card.
Santos claimed he did not know who these donors are and is working to determine their identities. Asked by CBS News if he plans to make them whole once he learns their identities, he replied, “Well, I mean, me making them whole means I am assuming guilt, right? So, I have no intention of going out of my way.”
“What infuriates me the most, because these are the people who made it possible for me to be here,” Santos explained. “Why would I want to hurt the same people who went out of their way to get me here?”
“It wouldn’t make sense,” he added. “It’s like biting the hand that feeds you, right? So, it doesn’t compute for me, it doesn’t work for me that way.”
Santos claimed that he had people on retainer to make sure “none of these shenanigans were happening” and would investigate some of his vendors and contractors and “pursue them on a later day” to try to recoup any misused funds. He acknowledged “an absolute systematic dereliction of duty across my entire campaign.”
But Santos also continued to heap blame on the ex-treasurer of his campaign,, who to conspiracy to defraud, admitting she fraudulently reported hundreds of thousands in fake loans that Santos had claimed he made to his campaign. And she admitted that she and Santos had added nonexistent donations from his friends and family in order to falsely inflate his campaign’s fundraising totals to qualify for help from a Republican national party committee.
Thealso called charges of lying to the Federal Election Commission “bull****.”
“I didn’t even know what the hell the FEC was,” he said. “To this date, I don’t know what their system looks like, other than going on Google.”
Asked if the buck stops with him, Santos demurred. “The buck stops with me is an exaggerated term, especially when you’re a candidate, right,” he said. “I’m not an experienced politician.”
“I’m getting sick and tired of now everything is thrown at me, as if I was sitting there making all these — how can I say — nefarious shady sh**. But the answer is no, I did not do any of it,” Santos said.
He has no plans to resign and said he would resist any calls to expel him: “They can try to expel me, but I pity the fools that go ahead and do that.”
As Republicans gather tojust over a week after Rep. Kevin McCarthy, of California, was removed, Santos said he plans to support Rep. Jim Jordan and plans to meet with him next week.
SOURCE: CBS news