November 4, 2023

Menendez argues it's his 'own decision not to attend' sensitive briefings, but Fetterman attempts to ban him

On Thursday, Democratic Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman submitted a motion to strip indicted Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) of his ability to receive sensitive briefings and information.

Although Fetterman did not name Menendez by name in his resolution, he did make reference to the crimes with which the New Jersey Democrat has been charged and argued that any senator facing such allegations should be barred from participating in certain activities, as the New York Post reported.

Senators accused of acting as a foreign agent, endangering U.S. national security, or mishandling classified information would be barred from receiving classified information or briefings, serving on committees, requesting funds for appropriation bills, or using official funds for international travel under the terms of the resolution.

The Allegations

Between 2018 and 2022, Menendez is said to have worked covertly for the Egyptian government alongside his wife and a businessman born in that country.

The former chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is facing charges of unregistered foreign agent activity, bribery, honest services fraud, and extortion. He is denying the charges against him and has entered a not guilty plea.

Menendez did not attend a confidential briefing on Israel, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) informed reporters last month.

The Democratic state senator from New Jersey claimed it was his "own decision not to attend." However, Menendez was not prevented from attending a confidential briefing about Ukraine earlier this week.

“The bottom line is I am a United States senator, I have my security credentials, and an accusation is just that, it’s not proof of anything,” he told reporters after the Wednesday meeting.

Menendez's Response

The resolution proposed by Fetterman was called a "publicity stunt" by Menedez on Thursday.

“Instead of focusing on generating clickbait, he should channel his efforts toward legislating and delivering results for the people of Pennsylvania,” Menendez told NBC News.

In a June 2022 raid of the Menendez household in Englewood Cliffs, FBI agents uncovered $566,000 in cash hidden inside windbreaker jackets bearing the senator's name, more than $150,000 in gold bars, and a 2019 Mercedes C-Class automobile that Menendez and his wife had allegedly purchased with a down payment obtained through bribery.

The Democrat senator is looking at up to 50 years in jail if he is found guilty of all charges. Menendez has refused to step down or abandon his plans to run for reelection in 2020.

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