Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) was indicted for corruption the first time back in 2017. That trial uncovered a lot of evidence of unsavory corruption, but the trial ended in a mistrial, and prosecutors chose not to retry the case. Most people would see that as a warning not to walk on the wrong side of the law or anywhere close to that line. But not Bob Menendez. The mistrial emboldened him.
This past week, Senator Bob Menendez was indicted on charges that he took a number of official governmental actions, including using his position as the Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee to shape policy favorable to his Egyptian benefactors. In exchange, Senator Bob Menendez Indictment: What does it mean? and his wife, Nadine, who was also allegedly profoundly involved in the alleged corruption scheme, received hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, and at least a quarter-million dollars in gold bars. He also allegedly received a luxury sports car, high end home furnishings, and mortgage payments.
Menendez has only been indicted at this point. There are a lot of very serious allegations and very damning evidence — about 39 pages worth. But there has not yet been a final determination of Menendez’s guilt. That will be for the judge and jury to decide. And we have a presumption of innocence until the trial has been concluded.
However, the evidence cited in the indictment is quite damning. While publicly Senator Bob Menendez was often critical of Egypt’s human rights record, the indictment says that Menendez behind the scenes was helping the Egyptian government to evade accountability and obtain foreign aid. Menendez allegedly gave sensitive information to his Egyptian contacts. Menendez is also accused of intervening in Egyptian diplomatic issues and pushing for favorable outcomes for Egypt. And for this, he was allegedly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, and gold and expensive gifts.
The allegations are serious enough that a number of political allies and friends have said that Menendez should resign from the U.S. Senate. For example, the Democrat Governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, and the other Senator from New Jersey, Cory Booker, have said that Menendez should resign. Senators Gary Peters (D-Mich.) Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). John Letterman (D-Pa.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) also called upon Menendez to step down. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the former speaker, also said that it “would probably be a good idea if [Menendez] did resign.” Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) said, “These are extremely damning charges ….”
The large number of prominent Democrats calling on Menendez to resign gives some indication that the evidence is pretty serious and the case against Menendez is strong.
Menendez’s initial statement of innocence didn’t do much to create confidence in him. For example, he claimed he keeps hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash bundles and hundreds of thousands of dollars in gold bars in his closet because he’s of Cuban descent. The truth is he’s lived in America most of his life and as a U.S. Senator he doesn’t have to worry that the government will simply empty his bank accounts. He implied that was his concern. But that seems rather silly and does nothing to instill confidence in his explanation.
Menendez stepped down from his position as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee because Senate rules required it. But he has vowed to stay in the Senate and fight the allegations. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) supports Menendez hanging on to the seat while he fights the criminal charges.
This dilemma is interesting for the Democrats because Bob Menendez’s case sounds like the allegations against Joe Biden. The allegations for both are that they used their positions to shift American foreign policy for the benefit of their benefactors in exchange for large cash payments. That is the very definition of bribery.
What’s odd about this is that the DOJ has put together a fairly compelling case against Senator Menendez but at the same time has been running a protection scheme for the Bidens. Everything from having Hunter’s laptop, sitting on it, hiding it, and lending credibility to the lies that the Hunter Biden laptop was just Russian misinformation.
On top of that, the DOJ waited and allowed several Biden family crimes to lapse due to statutes of limitations issues. And then there is the unprecedented sweetheart plea deal with Hunter Biden that they tried to get away with. Fortunately, the judge smelled a decaying rat and asked questions, and the bogus plea deal fell apart.
So the question is, why is there a difference in treatment? It would appear that they are treating Senator Bob Menendez as the law would require. But when it comes to the Bidens, the DOJ has made itself the praetorian guard of the Bidens. Maybe Senator Bob Menendez will be able to make hay of the disparate treatment. But honestly, just because the Bidens have gotten away with corruption so far doesn’t mean everyone should get away with it. We need to return to the rule of law and the principle that corruption is illegal for everyone — even Hunter and Joe Biden.
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