New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez has so far refused to resign after being indicted by the federal government on corruption and bribery charges, but a growing number of his Democratic colleagues are urging him to resign.
In the second federal indictment of his career, Mr. Menendez is accused of accepting lavish gifts, gold bars and cash in exchange for favors from three businessmen. The most serious allegations include providing sensitive information to the Egyptian government in order to increase U.S. aid.
Given the seriousness of the accusations, at least half of Democratic senators have called on Mr. Menendez to step down.
Cory Booker — Mr. Menendez’s longtime mentee and New Jersey counterpart — joined the call for resignation on Tuesday, calling the allegations “shocking” and “disturbing.”
“Senator Menendez fiercely maintains his innocence and it is therefore understandable that he feels that his resignation would be manifestly unjust. But I believe it is wrong,” Mr. Booker said in a statement. “I believe it is best to resign for those whom Senator Menendez spent his life serving.”
Mr. Booker, who has worked with Mr. Menendez for nearly a decade, said he found the allegations “difficult to reconcile” with the person he knows, but suggested Mr. Menendez spend time to concentrate on his trial.
Mr. Menendez and his wife, Nadine, were charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and conspiracy to commit undercover extortion. of official law.
The three New Jersey businessmen are charged with the first two counts.
So far, Mr. Menendez has maintained his innocence and refused to step down — saying calls for his resignation were people “rushing to judge a Latino and push him out of his seat.”
But other senators called on Mr. Menendez to resign in order to focus on his trial.
Senator John Fetterman of Pennsylvania said the that Mr. Menendez should choose an “honorable exit” and resign to focus on his trial.
Bob Casey, the other senator from Pennsylvania, joined The call for the resignation of Mr. Fettermans.
Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey both encouraged Mr. Menendez to step down as well.
Ms Warren said The Boston Globe that the accusations are “serious” and said: “It is time for Senator Menendez to step down from the Senate.
Mr. Markey said “public trust has been broken” in Mr. Menendez.
Tammy Baldwin, Senator from Wisconsin called allegations are ‘deeply disturbing’ and said in the interest of national security, Mr Menendez should resign
On Tuesday, Mr. Menendez faced growing pressure from many other Democratic senators to resign.
Nevada Senator Jacky Rosen, New Mexico Senator Martin HeinrichArizona Senator Mark KellyColorado Senators Michael Bennett and John Hickenlooper, Montana Senator Jon Tester And Senator Gary Peters of Michigan, who is also chairman of the Democratic campaign, all encouraged Mr. Menendez to resign.
Vermont Senators Bernie Sanders and Senator Peter Welch both called on Mr. Menendez to resign.
Speaking to NBC News, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said she would ask the Senate to investigate Mr Menendez.
“He said he wouldn’t do it, which is why I requested that the Senate investigation, the Senate ethics investigation, begin immediately, regardless of the criminal case at hand,” Ms. Klobuchar said .
Chris Murphy, the senator from Connecticut, said The hill that he believes “the best path forward” is for Mr. Menendez to resign.
Mr Murphy sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – from which Mr Menendez resigned following his indictment.
“This is a devastating series of allegations and as a committee we now have a responsibility to understand what Egypt was doing and what Egypt thought it was getting,” Murphy said. The hill. “This has serious implications for U.S. policy toward Egypt. If, as the indictment suggests, they were trying to use illicit means to curry favor with the committee.
Wednesday morning a handful of other Democratic senators including Hawaii Senator Mazie HironoGeorgia Senator Raphaël WarnockIllinois Senator Tammy Duckworth (who also serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee) and New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan.