At 3:09 PM today, CNN broke the news that the Justice Department is preparing to bring criminal corruption charges against Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), alleging he used his Senate office to push the business interests of Miami-based ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, a Democratic donor and friend in exchange for gifts.
The FBI and prosecutors from the Justice Department's public integrity section have pursued a variety of allegations against Menendez, who has called the probe part of "smear campaign" against him.
At a 7:45 PM presser, Menendez said "I have always conducted myself appropriately and in accordance with the law. I am not going anywhere."
I have never liked Menendez. I doubt I am alone in my expression of distrust of him but Menendez appears to be the victim of the shenanigans of a vindictive Administration.
Michael Warren of The Weekly Standard notes, “While the federal investigation has been ongoing, the timing of the charges is curious. Menendez has been one of the top Democratic critics in Congress of the Obama administration's negotiations and forthcoming deal with Iran over the Islamic Republic's nuclear ambitions. Earlier this year, the New Jersey Democrat said the White House's talking points on the Iran deal were "straight out of Tehran."
Last week, Menendez and Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) introduced legislation requiring President Obama to submit any nuclear agreement with Iran to Congress for a 60-day review. Back in January, Menendez also directly challenged The World’s Most Dangerous Community Organizer at a Democratic Senate retreat when he claimed he understood the pressure Senators were under from "donors". Menendez rose and told him he took "personal offense" at his remarks.
This president plays for keeps and when a top Democratic Party member is critical of him you can expect ruination to be your fate.
Amazing timing, that DOJ nails Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., right after he becomes the loudest critic of Obama's Iran deal.
— jimgeraghty (@jimgeraghty) March 6, 2015