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Sens. Casey, Booker call for Sen. Menendez to resign amid federal bribery indictment

Sen. Booker join calls for Menendez to resign
Sen. Booker join calls for Menendez to resign 00:32

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Sens. Bob Casey and Cory Booker join the roster of Senate Democrats calling on the resignation of New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, who is facing an indictment on federal bribery charges.

On Tuesday, both Casey, (D-Pa.), and Booker, (D-N.J.), released statements calling for Menendez to step down.

Casey accused the senator of violating the public's trust and demanded a "higher standard of conduct" in a post on X.

"Public service is a sacred trust. The specific allegations set forth in the federal indictment indicate to me that Senator Menendez violated that trust repeatedly. While he is entitled to the presumption of innocence, serving in public office is a privilege that demands a higher standard of conduct. Senator Menendez should resign," said Casey. 

Booker, also posting on X, called the allegations against Menendez "shocking" and noted that the senator stepping down is not an "admission of guilt" but rather a "tremendous sacrifice" associated with holding public office. 

"Senator Menendez is again facing a federal indictment, one that contains shocking allegations of corruption and specific, disturbing details of wrongdoing. I've found the allegations hard to reconcile with the person I know," he wrote. "Stepping down is not an admission of guilt but an acknowledgment that holding public office often demands tremendous sacrifices at great personal cost. 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."

On Monday, Menendez made his first comments since the indictment, outlining that he will remain steadfast in his effort to fight the federal charges and stay in office.

"I firmly believe that when all the facts are presented, not only will I be exonerated, but I still will be New Jersey's senior senator," Menendez said. "For now, I remain focused on doing the important work I do every day on behalf of the 9 million people who call New Jersey home, including doing everything we can this week to avoid a government shutdown." 

Related: New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez addresses indictment on federal bribery charges, record with Egypt

On Saturday, Sen. John Fetterman, (D-Pa.), became the first Senate Democrat to call on Menendez to resign taking to X to make his announcement. 

"Senator Menendez should resign. He's entitled to the presumption of innocence, but he cannot continue to wield influence over national policy, especially given the serious and specific nature of the allegations. I hope he chooses an honorable exit and focuses on his trial," said Fetterman on X.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has also called on the senator to resign, releasing a statement last Friday describing the allegations as "deeply disturbing." 

"The allegations in the indictment against Senator Menendez and four other defendants are deeply disturbing. These are serious charges that implicate national security and the integrity of our criminal justice system. Under our legal system, Senator Menendez and the other defendants have not been found guilty and will have the ability to present evidence disputing these charges, and we must respect the process. However, the alleged facts are so serious that they compromise the ability of Senator Menendez to effectively represent the people of our state. Therefore, I am calling for his immediate resignation," said Murphy.   

Federal prosecutors in New York alleged that Menendez and his wife, Nadine, accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from at least three New Jersey business associates and the government of Egypt.

The couple has been charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right.  

Related: Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez indicted on federal bribery charges

While the senator has denied the allegations and resisted calls to resign, however, he did step down temporarily as the chair of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as required under Senate Democratic Caucus rules.  

Menendez's political troubles continue in the wake of the indictment. Democratic Rep. Andy Kim of New Jersey announced Saturday he will challenge Menendez for his Senate seat next year.

"After calls to resign, Senator Menendez said 'I am not going anywhere,'" Kim said in a post on social media. "As a result, I feel compelled to run against him. Not something I expected to do, but NJ deserves better. We cannot jeopardize the Senate or compromise our integrity." 

Related: Rep. Andy Kim announces bid for Robert Menendez's Senate seat after New Jersey senator's indictment

Menendez was also indicted in 2015 on roughly a dozen charges, including bribery and conspiracy, following accusations he accepted gifts from a wealthy Democratic donor in exchange for political favors. That case ended in a mistrial.   

Menendez is expected to appear in court Wednesday. 

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