Levin Report: Whoops: New Rep. George Santos Is About to Be Re-Charged With Fraud in Brazil
View in your browser | Unsubscribe
By now you’ve heard the news that of the 74 individuals being sworn in as new members of the House of Representatives this week, at least one of them fictionalized large parts of his résumé while running for office. We speak, of course, of George Santos, the New York Republican whose election helped the GOP win control of the House and who The New York Times revealed last month had lied about many, many things, including graduating from college and working at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. An ex-boyfriend additionally told the the outlet that Santos “never ever actually went to work,” surprised him with tickets to Hawaii that didn’t exist, and stole his cell phone; since then, subsequent questions have been raised about basically every claim Santos has ever made, including: his mother’s death, attending the private school Horace Mann, being mugged on his way to deliver a rent check, founding an animal-rescue charity, having grandparents who fled the Holocaust, and being Jewish. (“I never claimed to be Jewish,” the New York Republican insisted in an interview with the New York Post. “I said I was ‘Jew-ish’.”) Also curious: campaign payments linked to a home where Santos and his husband are said to be living, and, per the Times, dozens of campaign expenses that all conveniently cost $199.99, i.e. exactly one cent below the amount at which federal law requires one to keep receipts.
All in all, not a great way to kick off a new job. And as it turns out, Santos—who insists his only “sin” is “embellishing” his résumé—will have at least one other thing distracting him from serving his constituents: the fraud charges he’s about to be hit with in Brazil.
The Times reports that prosecutors in Brazil will re-charge him with fraud at the end of the week, after originally doing so in 2008. At the time, Santos was indicted for stealing a checkbook and then spending the money under a false name, a crime which he admitted to in 2009 to the owner of a store where he spent the money and 2010 to the police. Then, he moved to the United States and reportedly stopped responding to authorities, who didn’t know his whereabouts. Now they do, and apparently are not interested in letting bygones be bygones.
Per the Times:
A spokeswoman for the Rio de Janeiro prosecutor’s office said that with Mr. Santos’s whereabouts identified, a formal request will be made to the U.S. Justice Department to notify him of the charges, a necessary step after which the case will proceed with or without him…. The next step for Brazilian prosecutors is to file a petition when the courts reopen at the end of the week requesting that Mr. Santos respond to the charges against him. A judge would then share the request, called a rogatory letter, with the federal Justice Ministry in Brazil, which would share it with the U.S. Department of Justice. Neither the Justice Department nor Brazilian authorities can compel Mr. Santos to respond at this point. But Mr. Santos must be officially notified in order for the case to proceed.
While a criminal conviction would, incredibly, not disqualify someone for holding office, if found guilty, Santos faces up to five years in prison. Which would obviously make it difficult to carry out his congressional duties. Despite previously confessing, Santos has since denied all wrongdoing, telling the Post: “I am not a criminal here—not here or in Brazil or any jurisdiction in the world.”
If you’re wondering if this is the sort of thing Republicans might frown upon or, God forbid, punish Santos over, we’ll give you a moment to remember the party we’re talking about here.
Despite the shitstorm of bad news, Santos appeared fairly zen, if not surrounded by friends and admirers, on Tuesday:
Greene, Boebert, Gaetz: The worst people you know are having a fight
There are a lot of awful people in the United States Congress, but it wouldn’t be hard to make the case that representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, and Matt Gaetz are among the very worst of the worst. That awfulness usually bonds them, but at present, the worst people in Washington are in a fight.
Specifically, Greene is fighting with Boebert and Gaetz over the fact that they, along with more than a dozen other members of the House Freedom Caucus, refuse to support Representative Kevin McCarthy’s bid to become Speaker of the House. (As of this writing, McCarthy has lost the first three votes for the job, and is gearing up for a fourth loss.) The feud among friends began last month, when Boebert told the audience at a conservative conference: “I’ve been aligned with Marjorie and accused of believing a lot of the things that she believes in. I don’t believe in [McCarthy as Speaker], just as I don’t believe in Russian space lasers, Jewish space lasers, and all of this,” presumably referring to a conspiracy theory previously shared by Greene claiming the Rothschilds were responsible for the 2018 California wildfires, which they apparently helped start with lasers. (The Rothschilds are a wealthy Jewish family antisemites like to say control everything in the universe.) Greene then accused Boebert of engaging in “high school drama,” and suggested she was an ingrate for taking McCarthy’s money during the midterm elections.
On Tuesday, Greene called her Freedom Caucus colleagues “destructionists,“ calling Gaetz out by name.
What do the anti-McCarthyites have against the representative from California, who has been happy to let Republicans engage in horrific behavior with basically nary a peep, in the hopes of one day winning the Speaker gig? According to Boebert, her line in the sand is for individual lawmakers to be able to force a vote to fire the House Speaker whenever they please, a procedural tactic that led to John Boehner’s ouster and which Nancy Pelosi changed in 2019. “You cannot demand more responsibility and less accountability,” Boebert, whose Colorado restaurant gave 80 people food poisoning in 2017, insisted during a press conference today. For his part, Gaetz told reporters:
As for Greene, she apparently wants to see McCarthy land the Speaker gig because he’s reportedly promised her some sweet committee assignments, which would be an upgrade from having no assignments after Democrats stripped her of them last year thanks to her calls for Nancy Pelosi to be executed.
As for who the holdouts would prefer to see in the power position, ballots have been cast for right-wing cranks like Jim Banks and Andy Biggs, who appear to have little chance. Still, as my colleague Eric Lutz noted on Tuesday, even if McCarthy ultimately wins, he’ll still have lost, thanks to whatever concessions he’ll have made to the people who hate his guts.
When (repeated) public humiliations make you smile
Wouldn’t that be a shame
What’s the most annoying sound in the world?
The sound of more Don Jr. in 2023. Per Axios:
Donald Trump Jr. has inked a multiyear podcast deal with Rumble Inc., the user-generated video platform that serves as a conservative alternative to YouTube, Axios has learned…. With the deal, Rumble will exclusively host a new Trump Jr. podcast called Triggered With Don Jr.—homage to the title of his 2019 book. The live show will air twice per week beginning the week of January 23rd, with the possibility of expanding its cadence in the future. Trump Jr. joined Rumble in early 2021. He has since amassed over 1 million subscribers, giving him one of the platform’s largest followings. Like his current Rumble videos, the podcast will continue to mostly feature Trump Jr.’s riffs on news of the day. He also plans to bring on guests for interviews.
Junior’s 2019 book, the full name of which is Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us, was a long list of complaints about how mean the left was to him and his family. He also wrote that the presidency was incredibly difficult on the Trumps for other reasons, namely that they couldn’t do any foreign deals while the big guy was in office; in one passage Jr. explained that this “sacrifice” was similar to the sacrifices made by US soldiers who’ve died on the field of battle. Recalling a visit to Arlington National Cemetery the day before Trump Senior’s inauguration, Junior wrote: “I rarely get emotional, if ever. I guess you’d call me hyper-rational, stoic. Yet as we drove past the rows of white grave markers, in the gravity of the moment, I had a deep sense of the importance of the presidency and a love of our country…In that moment, I also thought of all the attacks we’d already suffered as a family, and about all the sacrifices we’d have to make to help my father succeed—voluntarily giving up a huge chunk of our business and all international deals to avoid the appearance that we were ‘profiting off of the office.’” He added: “Frankly, it was a big sacrifice, costing us millions and millions of dollars annually…Of course, we didn’t get any credit whatsoever from the mainstream media, which now does not surprise me at all.”
GOP Rep. Bob Good says McCarthy opponents will “never cave” (CNN)
Who could be the next House speaker if McCarthy falls short (CNN)
Why House Republicans Keep Eating Their Own (Intelligencer)
Hope Hicks, former Trump aide, on Jan. 6: ‘We all look like domestic terrorists now’ (NBC News)
Sam Bankman-Fried Pleads Not Guilty to Fraud and Other Charges (NYT)
Elon Musk cuts Twitter expenses by falling behind on bills (AP)
Donald Trump’s Final Campaign (New York)
Bolsonaro takes his dying democracy vibes to Florida (MSNBC)
Cops: Driver Said He Hit 120 MPH After “a Good Song Came on His Stereo” (TSG)
If you would like to receive the Levin Report in your inbox daily, click here andhereto subscribe.
If you would like to share tonight’s newsletter, links to these stories can be found here and here. Thanks for supporting the LR!
This e-mail was sent to you by VANITY FAIR. To ensure delivery to your inbox