Saturday, February 24

McCarthy, Pelosi call on convicted Republican lawmaker to resign

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyMcCarthy confident GOP conference will make him Speaker if Republicans win back House McCarthy says GOP will win control of House: ‘It’s not going to be a five-seat majority’ House GOP keeps Trump at arm’s length as it hones midterm strategy MORE (R-Calif.) and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Hill’s Morning Report – Tensions rise at Jackson hearing Romney says Dems to send him new COVID-19 funding proposal Wednesday Pelosi backs Cuellar, says ‘I don’t know what it is’ of FBI raid MORE (D-Calif.) both said Friday that Rep. Jeff FortenberryJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FortenberryLawyers: Indicted GOP lawmaker was confused, did not lie to FBI agents Romney tests positive for coronavirus Nebraska’s Republican governor backs primary challenger against GOP lawmaker MORE (R-Neb.) should resign from Congress in light of his being convicted on three felony charges connected to his statements to the FBI about illegal campaign contributions.

“He had his day in court. I think if he wants to appeal, he can go do that as a private citizen,” McCarthy said in a press conference Friday from House Republicans’ annual policy retreat in Florida.

McCarthy said he texted Fortenberry on Thursday night and plans to talk to him today.

“I think when someone’s convicted, it’s time to resign,” McCarthy said.

A federal jury on Thursday found Fortenberry guilty on one count of falsifying and concealing material facts and two counts of making false statements to the FBI as agents investigated a $30,000 contribution to his campaign from Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury. Each count carries up to five years in prison.

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“Congressman Fortenberry’s conviction represents a breach of the public trust and confidence in his ability to serve. No one is above the law,” Pelosi said in a statement on Friday. “Congressman Fortenberry must resign from the House.”

Fortenberry plans to appeal, he told the Nebraska Examiner.

Rep. Anna EshooAnna Georges EshooPfizer halts Russian clinical trials, will donate profits from Russia business A new agency to accelerate biomedical science can succeed, under the right conditions IRS to drop facial recognition verification service MORE (D-Calif.) testified on Fortenberry’s behalf during the trial, praising his character. Former Rep. Trey GowdyTrey GowdyTrey Gowdy sets goal of avoiding ideological echo chamber with Fox News show Fox News signs Trey Gowdy, Dan Bongino for new shows Pompeo rebukes Biden’s new foreign policy MORE (R-S.C.) also testified on Fortenberry’s behalf.

Fortenberry stepped down from his committee posts in October after he was indicted.

It is typical for members of Congress to resign after being convicted of a felony. Most recently, former Rep. Duncan HunterDuncan HunterTrump denies Gaetz asked him for blanket pardon Gaetz, on the ropes, finds few friends in GOP Trust, transparency, and tithing is not enough to sustain democracy MORE (R-Calif.) resigned from Congress in 2020 after pleading guilty to misusing campaign funds. Former President TrumpDonald TrumpDefense & National Security — Biden huddles with allies in Europe Ginni Thomas sent Mark Meadows texts urging efforts to overturn election: report The Defense Production Act won’t bring us supply-chain security MORE later pardoned Hunter.

If he chooses not to resign, Fortenberry could face disciplinary action up to and including being formally expelled from Congress. 

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—Updated at 12:49 p.m.

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