The Justice Department is preparing to bring criminal corruption charges against Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) alleging he used his Senate office to give business advantages to big campaign donors and helped a friend in exchange for gifts.
Bridget Jonson wrote here at PJ Media last week:
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) foreshadowed today’s news that the Department of Justice is preparing corruption charges against him by hinting to AIPAC that his political enemies would try to “break” him for his resolve on Iran sanctions.
Just days after that AIPAC speech and after Menendez’s support for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s historic speech, CNN broke the news that the investigation would be forthcoming:
The Justice Department is preparing to bring criminal corruption charges against Sen. Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, alleging he used his Senate office to push the business interests of a Democratic donor and friend in exchange for gifts.
People briefed on the case say Attorney General Eric Holder has signed off on prosecutors’ request to proceed with charges, CNN first reported. An announcement could come within weeks. Prosecutors are under pressure in part because of the statute of limitation on some of the allegations.
The court proceedings will likely tie him up for months, leaving him unable to effectively fight his own party on a nuclear deal with Iran as he spends time mired in the controversy over his corruption charges.
Sen. Ted Cruz suggested that the timing of the pending charges was suspicious:
“The announcement this week by the Justice Department that they were bringing charges against Bob Menendez — I will point out that the timing seems awfully coincidental that … in the very week that Bob Menendez showed incredible courage to speak out and call out President Obama for the damage that his policy is doing to our national security … the Justice Department announces they’re moving forward with the criminal prosecution,” Cruz told reporters.
“It raises the suggestion to other Democrats that if you dare part from the Obama White House, that criminal prosecutions will be used potentially as a political weapon against you as well,” the senator added.
These accusations have been swirling around Sen. Menendez for years, with no indication that federal charges were on the horizon any time soon. Now, suddenly, the week after Menendez blasted the president for his foreign policy positions, our notoriously thin-skinned president (who always enjoys a good game of Chicago politics) chose this moment in history — when a nuclear deal with Iran could be imminent — to essentially silence the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He also sent a message to other members as well, putting them on notice that nothing short of lockstep with the president will be permitted. Dissenters will not be tolerated.
Are you wondering what vile, horrific things Menendez did to make himself an Enemy of the State in the eyes of a president from his own party? As it turned out, Menendez needed only 5 easy steps — 5 quotes about Cuba and Iran — to become an Enemy of Obama’s state.
1. “Trading convicted spies, including one who was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder of Americans for an innocent civilian sets a dangerous precedent. And so it says to others in the word, grab an aid worker and you should negotiate.”
2. “I think the president’s actions on this have presented problems for us globally. There is no room for comparison between a international aid worker and convicted Cuban spies who were found guilty of conspiracy of espionage against the United States. So what we see after the president’s announcement is an increasingly repressive dictatorship, and that’s going to end anytime soon.”
3. “It’s about the 10 million people in Cuba who got bad deal. Because what we did here we exchange one innocent prisoner for 5 convicted spies and one for conspiracy to commit murder among American citizens who were murdered by the Castro machine. I don’t see the Castros having to give anything for a carte blanche opening to the regime. We got nothing in terms of democracy and human rights. We got nothing about freedoms. And in a world that’s facing great difficulties because it’s patron, Venezuela, is not to be its patron, seems to me that what we did was throw an economic lifeline.”
4. “And maybe when you understand the history of the Jewish people and the efforts in the past to annihilate them and you understand the geography of Israel and the challenges of Israel, with her back to the sea, and surrounded by neighbors that are generally hostile and on a small strip of land where you can go from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on a good day in 45 minutes and cross the width of the country in a couple of minutes on a plane, you’d understand how difficult their challenge is and understand why Iran’s nuclear weaponry — their attempt to get nuclear weaponry — is such a consequential issue to their very existence.”
5. “The more I hear of the administration and its quotes, the more I think it comes straight out of Tehran.”
They all seem pretty reasonable to me, and part of what should be the normal, civil discourse in Washington. But we’re not dealing with a reasonable president who enjoys civil discourse as a way to sharpen his mind and clarify his ideas.
Instead, we’re dealing with a man who probably has his knickers all in a twist over #5 because “that’s just mean!” and who ordered, “I want Menendez out — NOW!”