Senate leaders need to break with Menendez now

Senator Robert Menendez’s Decay into Citizenship and Human Rights – Why he is a Democrat, not a New Jersey Senator

Hopefully, Democratic leaders in the Senate will do the right thing, and this column will be obsolete by the time you read it. I would have written it earlier, but I thought that at any moment, the dam would break and Robert Menendez, the recently indicted senator from New Jersey accused of spectacular acts of treachery and corruption, would be pushed out. Yet here we are, four days after the Department of Justice gave us all a look at Menendez’s cash-stuffed jacket and one-kilo gold bars, and a united front of condemnation has yet to materialize. More than a dozen Democrats have called on him to step down. Every other Democratic senator — especially the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer — should join them.

At his news conference on Monday, he claimed he was not in the Senate and that the FBI agents found hundreds of thousands of dollars at his house. He kept it for emergencies because of the history of his family facing persecution in Cuba. Apparently, Menendez, who was born in New York, wants us to believe that, because of intergenerational trauma, he feels the need to hedge against Communist revolution in America. (Ironically, his family now, indeed, faces government confiscation.) He claimed to have been targeted by racists because he was the descendant of a humble Latino American who could become a senator.

It is a major step for Booker, who works closely with Menendez, to call for his fellow senator to resign. His announcement is part of a flood of statements from Democrats.

“While he is entitled to a presumption of innocence, he should resign from public office for failing to live up to the high standards of conduct that are expected of him as a public official”, said Sen. Bob Casey in a Tuesday statement.

Menendez and his wife Nadine were indicted last week in a federal court in New York on three charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and conspiracy to commit extortion. The indictment alleges that Menendez and his wife accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes. The businessmen were allegedly helped by the senator by providing sensitive U.S. government information.

Menendez is also facing tremendous pressure at home in New Jersey to step aside. Phil Murphy called for him to resign quickly, as well as members of the House delegation and Andy Kim who said he would challenge him in the Democratic primary.

The mounting calls put pressure on party leadership, including President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, to take a position. So far, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has called it a “serious matter” but the president has not personally weighed in on resignation calls. In a statement last week, Schumer said Menendez “has a right to due process and a fair trial” and supported his decision to relinquish his post as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Menendez was released on a $100,000 bail and will have to hand over his personal passport but can keep his official passport and can continue foreign travel only for official duties as senator.

Co-conspirators of Daibes, Hana and Uribe in a New Jersey Cosmic Business Indictment

Their alleged coconspirators, New Jersey businessmen Fred Daibes, a real estate developer, Wael Hana and Joseph Uribe were also named in that same indictment and are facing two charges each.

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