New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez will address his Democratic colleagues on Thursday, one day after pleading not guilty Wednesday to federal corruption charges.
(Bloomberg) — New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez will address his Democratic colleagues on Thursday, one day after pleading not guilty Wednesday to federal corruption charges.
At least 29 Democratic senators and independent Senator Bernie Sanders had called for Menendez’s resignation, representing well more than half of Senate Democrats.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who stopped short of calling on Menendez to quit but said the lawmaker’s conduct “fell below” Senate standards, announced that Menendez would speak to Democratic colleagues.
Top New Jersey officials, including fellow Democratic Senator Cory Booker and Governor Phil Murphy already have said they’ve lost confidence in the three-term senator, who until last week served as the chairman of the powerful Foreign Relations Committee.
The Senate’s No. 2 Democratic Leader, Dick Durbin, on Wednesday morning joined the wave of Democratic senators who have turned against Menendez.
Durbin’s call for Menendez to leave office was a shift for the Illinois senator, who on Sunday said on CNN’s State of the Union that the embattled senator is entitled to the presumption of innocence and that he and New Jersey voters should decide his fate.
Pressure for the New Jersey senator to quit has been building since Tuesday. Among the Democrats seeking his resignation are Senator Gary Peters of Michigan, who chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and four swing-state Democratic senators facing tough reelection — Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Jon Tester of Montana, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Jacky Rosen of Nevada.
Prosecutors have accused him of taking gold bars and cash for illegally helping the nation of Egypt and three businessmen. The senator insists the cash came from his own savings and weren’t bribes.
–With assistance from Zach C. Cohen.
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