According to the indictment, which is the result of an investigation that has been ongoing for nearly a year, Menendez and his wife had a corrupt relationship with New Jersey businessmen Wael Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes, who allegedly bribed the senator with hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The DOJ alleges that the bribes were intended to protect the businessmen and to benefit Egypt.
During a press conference, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked if the White House knew about the indictment before it was made public and if they believe that Menendez should resign.
“So, a couple of things. I’m going to be really careful here — this is a — and not comment, because this is an active matter,” she said. “We learned about this just like all of you. But again, this is active matter, so I’m not going to comment.”
She was repeatedly asked if he should resign, but would only respond, “I’m not going to comment.”
Jean-Pierre was later asked what message it would send to the rest of the world if Menendez was allowed to remain as the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. Menendez was forced to step down due to Senate Democratic bylaws, which require leaders to step down if charged with a felony.
“So, I believe, from some of your reporting, I think there’s discussions happening about his next steps — the senator’s next steps. So, I leave it to the leadership of the Senate and certainly lead it — leave that to the senator’s office,” she said. “I have to be really careful because it is, indeed, an ongoing matter. And so, I cannot comment on this. But as far as his leadership role in the Senate, that is something for Senate leadership to speak to.”
Jean-Pierre added that she wanted to be “very, very clear” that President Joe Biden was “not going to get involved.”
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