The freshman member of Congress was questioned by anchor Erin Burnett about the alleged lies Mr Santos said ranging from his education to employment, that have landed him 13 criminal counts, along with a House Ethics Panel investigation.
The visibly flustered Long Island representative responded by trying to deflect the conversation toward president Joe Biden. "Erin, you know what would be great? I’m not deflecting, but I’m just going to call you out here and CNN," Mr Santos said.
"Have you brought Joe Biden on the network and spoken about all the things he’s said across the last 46 years,” he questioned.
When Burnett pointed out that Mr Santos had been informed prior to the interview about the range of questions about his past statements, the congressman brought up Democratic senators Elizabeth Warren and Richard Blumenthal.
“No, I am not answering these questions to you, I have done them extensively in other interviews and people can see it elsewhere,” he continued.
Mr Santos also denied striking a plea with the Justice Department after pleading not guilty in May to the 13 federal charges, which include embezzling money from his campaign, falsely receiving unemployment funds and lying to Congress about his finances.
He told Burnett he couldn’t go into detail because it would “cheapen" his "ability to defend” himself. In a recent filing, the prosecutors said that Mr Santos engaged in discussions about "possible paths forward in this matter".
“Why don’t you ask the DOJ what they meant by the letter, the letter was submitted by them not my counsel," he added.
He then went on to rebut a widely reported claim that he settled a case against him in Brazil, where he was allegedly charged with defrauding a clerk of $1,300 by using a fake name and a stolen checkbook in 2008.
"I don’t know where you’re getting your information from. But I would challenge you to bring up receipts on that because that’s not how it happened in Brazil," the congressman said.
Santos interview starts to go off the rails pic.twitter.com/m7ZhEagzng— Acyn (@Acyn) September 12, 2023
Mr Santos allegedly agreed to pay the victim $2,800 and a fine to the Brazilian government in exchange for the charge to be dropped, CNN reported.
"I’m not engaging on this because, again, if you can’t prove to the American people your allegations, then I’m not going to entertain it. You, please, you guys need to be better prepared next time," he claimed.
When asked about allegations of swindling $3,000 in donations for a disabled veteran’s dying service dog, he claimed that there were “hundreds of people” who would “vouch for his work in animal advocacy”.
“The reality is whatever happened to him, whatever communication happened there, it's unfortunate.
“But I stand convicted. I did not hurt him or did not hurt his dog.”
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