(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Michael Schwenk)
U.S. Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) is calling for U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to step down, following news that the New Jersey Democrat has been indicted on charges he took cash, gold, and gifts in exchange for using his political influence to help associates.
“Senator Menendez should resign. He’s entitled to the presumption of innocence under our system, but he is not entitled to continue to wield influence over national policy, especially given the serious and specific nature of the allegations,” Fetterman said in a statement on Saturday. “I hope he chooses an honorable exit and focuses on his trial.”
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy called the allegations against Menendez “deeply disturbing,” as he and other New Jersey Democrats also called for Menendez to resign.
Federal prosecutors indicted Menendez on charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, and conspiracy to commit extortion under the color of official right. His wife, Nadine Menendez, was also charged with federal crimes.
“I am not going anywhere,” Menendez said in a statement Friday, adding that prosecutors had “misrepresented the normal work of a Congressional office.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Friday that Menendez would temporarily step aside as chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“Bob Menendez has been a dedicated public servant and is always fighting hard for the people of New Jersey. He has a right to due process and a fair trial,” Schumer said.
U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) said Saturday that he would run against Menendez in the Democratic primary for Senate next year. “This is not something I expected to do, but I believe New Jersey deserves better,” Kim said in a statement.
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