On Wednesday, a reporter asked Democratic New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez about the accusations leveled at him that he is a foreign agent on behalf of Egypt while attending classified senatorial briefings.
Manu Raju, a CNN correspondent who covers Congress, spoke with the legislator on Capitol Hill. He also inquired about Menendez’s recent whereabouts, as the senator had missed a secret briefing on Israel two weeks prior.
Raju implied in his questioning that Senator Chuch Schumer barred him from attending the briefing, prompting a sharp response from Menendez.
Menendez said that he was not kept from attending by Schumer. The senator said he went to the most recent briefing because keeping up with developments in Ukraine is crucial while debating the supplemental.
After this exchange, Raju stated that the user was accused of working with an outside government. He wanted to know why he could attend a classified briefing.
Menendez accused Raju of trying to generate headlines. He said he is a United States senator with access to classified information. He said allegations are just that; they are not proof of any wrongdoing.
(There are accusations that he and his wife were complicit in a bribery plot involving the Egyptian government.)
The New Jersey senator has pleaded not guilty to charges that he operates as a foreign agent for the Egyptian government.
Schumer claims that Menendez has temporarily stood down as head of the Foreign Relations Committee until the legal problem is settled.
In September, Maryland Democrat Sen. Ben Cardin became the committee leader. He said that Senator Menendez, in his capacity as a Senator, is entitled to attend confidential briefings. The most recent briefing, Cardin underlined, is unrelated to the allegations.
Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) is a Democrat who has advocated for Menendez’s expulsion from the Senate.
Fetterman said there is no place in the Senate for Menendez, adding that they have to “chuck” him out.
Perhaps this is a veiled signal to Chuck Schumer to get serious about Menendez’s expulsion.