Just as an onslaught of Democratic senators has demanded that indicted Bob Menendez resign, the New Jersey senator has found strange bedfellows in some of his Republican colleagues.
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., expressed distrust of the Justice Department, which charged Menendez late last week with a slew of salacious crimes.
“The charges against Senator Menendez are serious and disturbing. At the same time, the Justice Department has a troubling record of failure and corruption in cases against public figures, from Ted Stevens to Bob McDonnell and Donald Trump to Bob Menendez last time,” Cotton wrote on X.
Some eighteen Democratic senators have publicly called on Menendez to resign, even as he remained defiant and said he would not do so.
Menendez and his wife Nadine Arslanian were charged Friday with allegedly accepting more than $600,000 in bribes.
He has denied the allegations but has stepped down from his role as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee as the legal drama plays out.
In 2015, Menendez was indicted by a federal grand jury in Miami on bribery and fraud charges, but a judge later declared a mistrial and the DOJ dropped all charges against Menendez in 2018.
Just as an onslaught of Democratic senators has demanded that indicted Bob Menendez resign, the New Jersey senator has found a rare defender in Republican Sen. Tom Cotton.
For the Democrats, a resignation of Menendez would pose few political problems; the state’s Liberal Gov. Phil Murphy would appoint another Democrat to the seat. In 2024, someone without political baggage would be on the ballot, making victory more likely for Democrats.
“The allegations against the senior senator from New Jersey are sordid and the evidence presented is difficult to explain away,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., wrote on X. “But in America, guilt is decided by a jury, not politicians in the US. for fear that their party will lose a seat in the Senate.’
But many Republicans have railed against the Justice Department over the past year, starting with the Mar-a-Lago raid and continuing after allegations that the department delayed the investigation into Hunter Biden.
Trump now faces two federal charges, in addition to one from Georgia and one from New York.
Senator Bob Menendez declared his innocence at a news conference in New Jersey
Far-right Republicans have called for the DOJ and FBI to be “defunded” — and have pushed for funding for Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Trump to be stripped from the appropriations bill.
Speaker McCarthy made an about-face Tuesday when asked if he thought Menendez should resign.
When I asked the question on Saturday, the speaker said: ‘Yes, very much so.’
When asked again Tuesday, he told reporters, “I think George (Santos) could have his day in court, I think Menendez should have his day in court.”
“His choice about what he wants to do,” McCarthy said of Menendez.
The indictment alleges that the couple had an improper relationship with three New Jersey businessmen: Wael Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes, who allegedly paid the couple in exchange for Menendez to use his influence in Washington, D.C., to their advantage.
A raid on their home in June 2022 found “more than $480,000 in cash — much of it stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets and a safe,” the indictment said, adding that Nadine had more than $70,000 in had a safe.
There were two one-kilogram gold bars and eleven one-ounce gold bars.
According to the indictment, Menendez and his wife accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for using the senator’s influence to protect and enrich the businessmen.
“Those bribes included cash, gold, mortgage payments, compensation for a low- or no-show job, a luxury car and other items of value,” the indictment said.
It also accuses the senator of providing “sensitive U.S. government information and taking other steps that secretly aided the government of Egypt.”
Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, lays out the evidence against New Jersey Democrat U.S. Senator Robert Menendez and his wife Nadine
Prosecutors said Hana, who is originally from Egypt, arranged dinners and meetings between Menendez and Egyptian officials in 2018.
The officials pressured Menendez about the status of U.S. military aid, and Hana put Nadine Menendez on his company’s payroll, prosecutors said.
At the time, Egypt was one of the largest recipients of U.S. military aid, but the State Department had withheld $195 million and canceled another $65.7 million until the country could demonstrate improvements in human rights and democracy.
Menendez told Hana non-public information about the status of the aid, prosecutors said.
Menendez has denied the claims.
“To those who have rushed to speak out, you have done so based on a limited number of facts formulated in the most salacious way possible by the prosecutor,” he said.
‘Others have rushed to judgment because they see a political opportunity for themselves or the people around them. All I humbly ask at this time of my colleagues in Congress, the elected leaders, and the New Jersey advocates with whom I have worked for years, as well as everyone who calls New Jersey Home, is to pause for a moment. and allow all problems. the facts that need to be presented.”