Get Out — Efforts to Expel NJ’s Menendez From U.S. Senate
Renewed calls for New Jersey U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez to resign after federal prosecutors have filed a revised indictment claiming Menendez acted as the agent for a foreign government.
The charge is a sharp escalation of the case against Menendez, and alleges that he provided sensitive information to the government of Egypt through an intermediary.
The superseding indictment, filed in Manhattan federal court on Thursday, accuses Menendez of violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires people to register with the U.S. government if they are acting as “an agent of a foreign principal.”
As a member of Congress, Menendez was prohibited from being an agent of a foreign government, even if he did register as one.
Another denial from Menendez in wake of new charges
Sen. Menendez issued a new denial in a statement on Thursday.
"Piling new charge upon new charge does not make the allegations true," Menendez said, "The facts haven’t changed, only a new charge. It is an attempt to wear someone down and I will not succumb to this tactic. I again ask people who know me and my record to give me the chance to present my defense and show my innocence."
In his statement, Menendez professed, "I have been, throughout my life, loyal to only one country – the United States of America, the land my family chose to live in democracy and freedom."
Calls for expulsion from the Senate
Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. John Fetterman quickly called for an expulsion vote in the Senate.
Fetterman posted on X that Menendez should no longer be the U.S. Senator and should have been gone long ago.
"It is time for every one of my colleagues in the Senate to join me in expelling Senator Menendez," Fetterman said, "We cannot have an alleged foreign agent in the United States Senate."
Fetterman ended his statement with, "This is not a close call."
Menendez's fellow New Jersey U.S. Sen. Cory Booker has called for resignation, but has not committed to an expulsion vote.
Rep. Andy Kim, who announced a primary challenge against Menendez, joined the effort toward expulsion.
"As a former national security official who swore an oath to defend our Constitution, I cannot stand by as the Senator representing my family and my state has been accused of acting as a foreign agent," Kim said in a statement, "Given the severity of these charges, the US Senate should vote on expulsion."
Expelling Sen. Menendez would be historic, and not easy
While half of the Democratic caucus in the Senate has called for Menendez to resign, expulsion would require a two-thirds vote from the entire body.
It is possible Republicans would not vote to expel.
Silent about this latest development and calls for expulsion is Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
While Schumer has condemned Menendez, he has stopped short of outright calling for his resignation and it is not clear if he would even entertain an expulsion vote.
While expulsion is not unprecedented, it hasn't actually happened since the 1860's.
That is when the Senate voted to expel southern senators that supported the Confederacy.
Ironically, the last U.S. senator to face calls for expulsion was from New Jersey.
Sen. Harrison Williams was implicated in the Abscam bribery and corruption scandal and was facing an expulsion vote. The vote was never taken because Williams resigned before it could happen.
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