Senate Democrats are allowing embattled Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., to answer the numerous calls for his resignation following his indictment on federal charges of bribery, fraud, and extortion.
Menendez, who pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday in New York, is expected to speak Thursday to the Senate Democrat conference. Although Menendez resigned as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, The Hill reported that questions remain on such issues as whether he should have access to Senate intelligence briefings.
More than half of Senate Democrats have demanded Menendez resign. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York did not. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, called for Menendez to resign Wednesday, and Menendez’s colleague from New Jersey, Cory Booker, did the same Tuesday.
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told The Hill he granted Menendez the “courtesy” of allowing him to speak to the conference before rendering an opinion about his future in the Senate.
“He’s asked to speak to the Democratic conference, I believe, tomorrow,” Warner said. “I’m going to grant him that courtesy, but I expect I’ll have much more to say afterwards.”
Menendez and his wife, Nadine, were indicted by federal prosecutors Friday. The senator is accused of accepting luxury goods and large sums of money in exchange for committing corrupt acts, including providing sensitive information to the government of Egypt. Menendez’s wife also pleaded not guilty Wednesday.
Menendez has said the allegations that he abused his power to line his pockets are baseless, that he is confident he will be exonerated, and that he has no intention of leaving the Senate. This is the second corruption case against Menendez, whose last trial involving different allegations ended in a mistrial in 2017.
Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and politics.
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