George Santos just got criminally indicted by the DOJ

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House Republican George Santos’ endless string of lies and fraudulent behavior certainly ended his political future awhile ago. But the question remained whether his behavior had crossed over into the kind of criminal territory where prosecutors felt they’d be able to get charges to stick against him. Now we have the answer, because the DOJ just criminally indicted Santos.

This news is still breaking, and it hasn’t even yet been revealed what the specific charges are. But CNN is reporting on its website that the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York, which is a division of the DOJ, has filed criminal charges. Santos is expected to appear in court as soon as tomorrow.

To be clear, being criminally charged will not cause Santos to be removed from the House. Not even a criminal conviction would do that (there is no such thing as “disqualified” no matter how many viral tweets claim otherwise). The only way Santos can be removed before the end of his current term is if he’s expelled by a two-thirds vote.

But at the least, these criminal charges will put Santos front and center again, and it’ll instantly become far more of a political headache for House Republicans than ever. If Santos is convicted at trial, he’ll be sent to prison, making him unable to vote and thus useless to House Republicans. At that point they might ultimately have to agree to expel him, if only for pragmatic reasons. In the meantime, Santos will now become a daily scandal for House Republicans until they do finally expel him.

This is also a reminder that the DOJ does criminally charge politicians once it’s built the kind of criminal case against them that it feels can actually get a conviction at trial. It’s more clear than ever that the DOJ, through special counsel Jack Smith, will also criminally charge Donald Trump soon enough.

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