New Jersey’s Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez finds himself ensnared in a web of international corruption charges — after years of audacious claims that former President Donald Trump was “compromised” by the Russian government.
“Over the last two years, many of us have grappled with a very difficult question about our President,” Menendez said on the Senate floor in February 2019. “It’s a question that never before could we even imagine thinking about an American president, let alone saying aloud on the floor of the Senate.”
“I’m talking about the entirely legitimate question of whether Donald Trump could be compromised by the Russian government,” Menendez continued. “It’s more than a legitimate question — it’s the natural question that comes to mind every time we learn more about the links between President Trump, his associates, and the Russian government.”
The irony drips thick. Menendez, who once lost sleep over the mere possibility of corruption in the Trump administration, now faces federal indictment for bribery. Prosecutors allege that Menendez and his wife accepted bribes in various forms, including cash, gold bars and a luxury car. These bribes were purportedly in exchange for the senator using his influence to benefit the authoritarian regime of Egypt.
Federal agents discovered $100,000 in gold bars and $480,000 in concealed cash during a search of the couple’s residence. This revelation adds another layer to the short-statured senator’s already questionable ethical record.
“For years, forces behind the scenes have repeatedly attempted to silence my voice and dig my political grave,” Menendez said in a press release. “Since this investigation was leaked nearly a year ago, there has been an active smear campaign of anonymous sources and innuendos to create an air of impropriety where none exists.”
“To my supporters, friends and the community at large, I ask that you recall the other times the prosecutors got it wrong and that you reserve judgement. I am confident that this matter will be successfully resolved once all of the facts are presented and my fellow New Jerseyans will see this for what it is,” Menendez added.
Additional context reveals a nefarious agreement between Menendez, his wife, and three New Jersey businessmen — Wael “Will” Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes. The couple consented to accept substantial bribes to shield these businessmen and advance the interests of Egypt. Menendez even promised to disrupt a criminal investigation related to Uribe and recommended President Biden’s nominee for U.S. Attorney for New Jersey be someone “who Menendez believed could be influenced by Menendez.”
The indictment against Menendez marks his second; he faced a prior charge that accused him of accepting extravagant gifts and campaign contributions to influence government officials. This makes Menendez the first sitting senator to face indictment on two separate criminal allegations.
Whatever the outcome of the case against Menendez, may it serve as a reminder to all politicians who make such bold corruption allegations against former President Trump — those who live in glass houses ought not throw stones.
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