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Pelosi and NJ Sen. Cory Booker lead calls for Menendez resignation

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have called on Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to step down following his indictment on bribery charges, leading a growing chorus of Senate and House Democrats demanding he quit.

“Stepping down is not an admission of guilt but an acknowledgment that holding public office often demands tremendous sacrifices at great personal cost,” Booker said in a Tuesday statement. “Senator Menendez has made these sacrifices in the past to serve. And in this case he must do so again.”

“I believe stepping down is best for those Senator Menendez has spent his life serving,” added the junior senator from New Jersey, noting that he “found the allegations hard to reconcile with the person I know.”

“As Senator Menendez prepares to mount his legal defense, he has stated that he will not resign,” Booker added. “Senator Menendez fiercely asserts his innocence and it is therefore understandable that he believes stepping down is patently unfair. But I believe this is a mistake.”

“I respect their position that they are taking, and the charges are formidable,” Pelosi, 83, told MSNBC host Jen Psaki on Monday night, adding that it would “probably be a good idea if he did resign.”Menendez, 69, has refused to step down after he and his wife, Nadine, were indicted on three counts of allegedly engaging in a “corrupt bribery agreement” with three wealthy New Jersey businessmen to benefit them and the government of Egypt.

Pelosi added Monday night that, by the same token, lying Rep. George Santos (R-NY) should also resign.

The Long Island pol was indicted in May on 13 counts of embezzlement of campaign funds, fraudulently obtaining COVID-related unemployment benefits and lying to Congress on financial disclosures.

Democratic Sens. John Fetterman and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Peter Welch of Vermont, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Jon Tester of Montana have since called on Menendez to resign, along with several House Democrats.

Menendez stepped down from his position as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Friday at the behest of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

Neither Schumer nor Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) have called for the New Jerseyan to leave office.

The Garden State Democrat allegedly took $486,461 in cash payments, $150,000 in gold bars and a 2019 Mercedes-Benz convertible worth $60,000 to help protect the interests of businessmen Wael Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes.

The money was found “stuffed in envelopes” and “hidden in clothing, closets, and a safe” when the feds raided the couple’s Englewood Cliffs home in June 2022, according to the indictment in the Southern District of New York.

Menendez claimed Monday in his first public remarks since the indictment that he withdrew the funds from his personal savings account over three decades in case of emergencies and because he is the son of Cuban immigrants.

The money was found “stuffed in envelopes” and “hidden in clothing, closets, and a safe” when the feds raided the couple’s Englewood Cliffs home in June 2022, according to the indictment in the Southern District of New York.

His wife also stashed another $70,000 in cash that was found in a safe deposit box.

In exchange for the allegedly ill-gotten cash and goods, Menendez shielded the businessmen and tried to disrupt a criminal investigation into one of them by urging President Biden to nominate Philip Sellinger as the US attorney for New Jersey, believing the prosecutor could be influenced.

As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Menendez also shared sensitive information with Egyptian officials and secretly lobbied his colleagues to release $300 million in aid to Cairo.

Menendez and his wife face up to 45 years in federal prison if convicted on all counts. Each businessman faces up to 25 years in prison upon conviction.

Manhattan US Attorney Damian Williams revealed the charges in a Friday press conference, adding that his investigation was “very much ongoing.”

Menendez has tapped for his defense high-profile Washington, DC, attorney Abbe Lowell, who is also representing first son Hunter Biden against federal gun charges.

Lowell represented Menendez during his last federal corruption indictment in 2015, which ended two years later in a hung jury.

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