New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez told fellow Democrats he won’t resign his seat despite a growing chorus of calls from within his own party to do so following his indictment on federal corruption charges.
(Bloomberg) — New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez told fellow Democrats he won’t resign his seat despite a growing chorus of calls from within his own party to do so following his indictment on federal corruption charges.
The embattled three-term senator was eloquent during a closed-door meeting with Senate Democrats on Thursday and said he planned to stay in his seat, West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin said.
Most other Democrats, including several who have called for his resignation, refused to disclose any details of the meeting.
Menendez left through a back exit and would not answer when asked if he would cooperate with a Senate ethics investigation. He told reporters he looks forward to casting votes.
Menendez’s political support collapsed after prosecutors charged he had received bribes of gold bars, hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and a Mercedes convertible in return for official favors extended to three businessmen. The bribes allegedly began around the same time federal prosecutors dropped an earlier corruption case against Menendez in 2018 following a trial that ended with a hung jury.
His wife, Nadine, and the businessmen were also charged.
Menendez, 69, has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and has vowed not to resign. Though he gave up the chairmanship of the Foreign Relations Committee, more than half of Senate Democrats have called on him to quit.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer has not done so, instead praising him as a dedicated public servant.
Schumer would not respond to reporters’ questions after the meeting.
Earlier: Senator Menendez Charged With Taking Bribes of Gold Bars, Cash
Menendez’s decision to stay in the Senate complicates Democrats’ strategy in next year’s elections to attack former President Donald Trump and his allies over his criminal indictments.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and a few other Democrats called on him to step down hours after the criminal charges had been announced. By Tuesday morning, their voices were joined by a chorus of Senate Democrats, including Cory Booker, a close ally and his state’s junior senator, Gary Peters of Michigan, the leader of the party’s Senate campaign arm, and many endangered Senate Democrats who face tough re-election fights next year.
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