Calls are mounting for Menendez to resign as Democrats grapple with ‘shocking’ bribery allegations

Sen. Bob Menendez speaks during a news conference on Monday, Sept. 25, 2023, in Union City, N.J. Menendez defiantly pushed back against federal corruption charges, saying cash authorities found in his home was from his savings account and was on hand for emergencies, and wasn't bribe proceeds. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

FILE - Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., listens during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill, March 16, 2023 in Washington. Booker is calling on Sen. Bob Menendez to resign, saying in a statement that the federal bribery charges unveiled on Friday against his fellow New Jersey Democrat contain ”shocking allegations of corruption and specific, disturbing details of wrongdoing.” (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

WASHINGTON — Sen. Bob Menendez came under heavy pressure to resign Tuesday as a surging number of his Democratic colleagues in the Senate, including fellow New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker, urged him to step aside over the federal bribery allegations against him.

More than 20 Senate Democrats have now said that Menendez should resign, including several Democrats running for reelection next year. Calls for his resignation came in quick succession after Booker’s statement, including from the head of the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm, Michigan Sen. Gary Peters. Menendez has refused to leave office but has not yet said whether he will run for reelection next year.


Menendez, the longtime chairman and top Democrat on the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and his wife Nadine are accused in an indictment released Friday of using his position to aid the authoritarian government of Egypt and to pressure federal prosecutors to drop a case against a friend, among other allegations of corruption. The three-count indictment says they were paid bribes — gold bars, a luxury car and cash — by three New Jersey businessmen in exchange for the corrupt acts.

In his statement, Booker said that while Menendez deserves the presumption of innocence, senators should adhere to a higher standard, and the details of the allegations against Menendez have “shaken to the core” the faith and trust of his constituents. He said the indictment of Menendez includes “shocking allegations of corruption and specific, disturbing details of wrongdoing.”

“As senators, we operate in the public trust,” Booker said. “That trust is essential to our ability to do our work and perform our duties for our constituents.”

Menendez has denied any wrongdoing, saying he merely performed as any senator would and that the nearly half million dollars in cash found in his home — including some stuffed in pockets of clothing — was from personal savings and kept at hand for emergencies. Authorities recovered about 10 cash-filled envelopes that had the fingerprints of one of the other defendants in the case on them, according to the indictment.

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