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What’s Happening with Senator Bob Menendez?

New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez announced that he won’t seek reelection in November. This comes after a new indictment charged him with obstruction of justice in addition to 18 other counts. This case was originally pressed against the senator in September last year, where he allegedly accepted bribes to act in the interest of three businessmen and the Government of Egypt.

Senator Bob Menendez was elected as a senator for New Jersey in 2006. Through his tenure, the senator became the chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. The Foreign Relations Committee presides over nominating all United States diplomats and plays a role in negotiating and ratifying treaties that involve the United States. In 2015, Senator Menendez was indicted on corruption charges for allegedly working with a Floridian Ophthalmologist in exchange for bribes. The Justice Department eventually dropped all charges following a hung jury during the Senator’s trial

As part of the indictment levied by the Department of Justice, Senator Bob Menendez is alleged to have provided classified information to the Government of Egypt as part of an agreement with a New Jersey businessman in exchange for bribes. With the senator’s position as the chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Bob Menendez was capable of providing more important information from the United States Government to Egypt.

The allegations of acting for the benefit of the Government of Egypt have encouraged prosecutors to charge him with failure to register as an agent of a foreign power, which brought Pennsylvania Democratic Senator John Fetterman and New Jersey Democratic Representative Andy Kim to call for Bob Menendez’ expulsion. He has maintained his innocence throughout this situation and has denounced the accusations against him. The Senator has also, as a result of the security concerns surrounding his charges, temporarily stepped down as chair of the Foreign Relations Committee. 

The prospects of a senator acting in the best interest of a foreign government are shocking to the United States government. The outlook for Senator Bob Menendez is not bright, especially with many of the calls for his expulsion from Congress coming from members of his party. Senator Chuck Schumer, the senate majority leader, however, has opposed any motions to expel Senator Menendez wanting instead to let the results of his May trial influence any future action on the subject.

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