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Rep. George Santos' claim mother escaped South Tower on 9/11 discredited by immigration documents, genealogist says

Politicians eye Santos' House seat as congressman faces scrutiny
Politicians eye Santos' House seat as congressman faces scrutiny 02:10

NEW YORK -- With Rep. George Santos under scrutiny, some politicians are eyeing his seat in Congress in the event of a special election. 

The Republican congressman wasn't in his office this week, but CBS2 found out he spent time Friday at a Hindu temple in New Hyde Park.

Santos posted photos on Twitter. 

"Mr. George Santos walks in and he stood there for two, two and a half, three hours, through the prayers and he left," said Sridhar Shanmugam, a Shri Saneeswara board member. 

It was unexpected. Santos was not invited, Shanmugam said. 

Before the congressman's Twitter account was abruptly suspended, Santos tweeted about co-sponsoring four bills with two more in the making and meeting with mayors. 

"It's heartbreaking. This is just a complete exercise in cynicism," said State Assembly Member Charles Lavine, a Democrat who has constituents in Santos' district. "He is their Frankenstein, he is their creation. We now have to figure out how to exist with him."

Alex Calzreth, a genealogy researcher, obtained newly-uncovered immigration records of Santos' mother. The congressman had claimed she escaped the South Tower on 9/11.

"She was in Brazil for years before and after, so she could not have been in New York on 9/11. It's just one more lie on top of all the other lies. But this is somehow that much more significant because, for New York, it's a seminal event," said Calzreth. 

In an op-ed, Republican Peter King said Santos can't "fake his way through Congress."

Both Republican and Democratic party leaders know the eyes of the nation would be on a special election in District 3, and that it would be massively expensive. 

Jack Martins, Alison Esposito and Daniel Serota have been bandied about for the GOP. Robert Zimmerman, Jon Kaiman and even Tom Suozzi have been mentioned for the Democrats. 

"I think we are going to have a special election. As far as the Democratic Party here in Nassau County, we are ready for it and of course I'll be speaking with Hakeem Jeffries and the folks at the DCCC in Washington," said New York State Democratic Committee Chair Jay Jacobs. 

CBS2 is awaiting a return call from Santos' office. 

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