Schumer signals Menendez will stay as New Jersey Democrats call on him to resign

New Jersey Democrats are demanding that Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) resign following his second federal corruption indictment in a decade.

Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) said Friday that Menendez should leave the Senate, as did Rep. Mikie Sherill (D-NJ) in a statement. statement.

“No matter your job title or your politics – no one in America is above the law,” Kim said in the statement, later adding: “In the meantime, I do not have confidence that Senator has the ability to properly focus on our state and its people while addressing such an important legal issue. He should step aside.

Gov. Phil Murphy (D-) also called for Menendez’s resignation, saying the allegations “compromise Sen. Menendez’s ability to effectively represent the people of our state.” Leaders of both states’ legislative chambers also called for Menendez’s resignation.

But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) indicated he would not push for the senator’s resignation in a statement Friday, in which he praised Menendez for being a “dedicated public servant.”

“He has a right to due process and a fair trial,” Schumer said.

Other senators, including Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), have so far remained silent on the matter. Menendez’s departure would open a competitive race for his seat, one likely being considered by members of Congress in the state’s delegation, including those calling for his resignation.

Menendez faces three counts in a Manhattan federal indictment unsealed Friday. Prosecutors accused Menendez and his wife Nadine of taking gold bars, furniture, a Mercedes-Benz convertible, cash and other favors from three New Jersey businessmen in exchange for official acts.

These official acts allegedly included transferring sensitive government information to the Egyptian government, attempting to thwart state and federal criminal investigations into his associates, and intervening when the USDA opposed the Egyptian government’s decision to granting a monopoly to an importer of halal meat, which would have kicked in. money to Menendez’s wife via a no-show job.

Menendez can no longer chair the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, under Senate Democratic Conference rules, which prohibit members accused of a crime from chairing a committee.

Schumer, in the statement, called the decision Menendez “rightly deciding to resign.” After Menendez’s 2015 corruption indictment ended in a mistrial that the DOJ refused to recover, Schumer agreed to give the senator a spot as a ranking member of the committee.

With the new Democratic majority in 2021, Menendez returned. He is accused in part of abuse of power gained through his position on the committee.

Tom Malinowski, a former New Jersey representative who left Congress in January after being defeated in the 2022 midterms, said he thinks Menendez should resign.

“How can we ask Americans to vote against an indicted Trump but for an indicted Democratic senator, especially with such overwhelming evidence? he wrote.

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