Why the knives are out on Menendez

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Why the knives are out on Menendez

As Pete notes, the knives are out against Robert Menen­dez, with lurid head­lines again scream­ing Sen. Robert Menen­dez may have had sex with under­age hook­ers in Domini­can Repub­lic. Menendez’s office again denied the accu­sa­tions, which are part of a larger case (empha­sis added),

And unlike in many fed­eral pub­lic cor­rup­tion cases, this pros­e­cu­tion revolves, in part, around tes­ti­mony by ex-​girlfriends of Menen­dez and his donor, the eye doc­tor Mel­gen. The Jus­tice Depart­ment says at least six of those girl­friends are “direct wit­nesses to the cor­rupt rela­tion­ship between the defen­dants.” Pros­e­cu­tors added that they didn’t call all of the men’s for­mer para­mours, only those who ben­e­fited from the alleged corruption.

Woe betide those whose for­mer girl­friends talk, or whose divorce records are opened.

It’s curi­ous to see the hooker story pop up again. I have been blog­ging on the case for the last cou­ple of years, and noted that a grand jury in Florida already found no basis for the pros­ti­tu­tion alle­ga­tions. Let’s not for­get why it has.

The knives are out on Menen­dez for three rea­sons, all per­tain­ing to for­eign pol­icy:
1. The Iran deal (about which we have been post­ing), and Cuba:

Mr. Menen­dez sharply ques­tioned State Depart­ment offi­cials about Mr. Obama’s move to open diplo­matic rela­tions with Cuba, call­ing it “a bad deal” that “com­pro­mised bedrock prin­ci­ples for vir­tu­ally no con­ces­sions.” In Decem­ber, Mr. Menen­dez, a son of Cuban immi­grants who has made oppo­si­tion to the Cas­tro lead­er­ship a cen­ter­piece of his polit­i­cal life, said Mr. Obama’s deci­sion had “vin­di­cated the bru­tal behav­ior of the Cuban government.”

He has also bat­tled with Mr. Obama over a bill to impose new sanc­tions on Iran, which the pres­i­dent argues would under­mine talks to pre­vent Tehran from acquir­ing a nuclear weapon. Mr. Menen­dez is a co-​sponsor of the bill.

And dur­ing Mr. Obama’s State of the Union address last month, Mr. Menen­dez sat grim-​faced as other Democ­rats cheered the president’s promise to veto any effort to roll back his domes­tic agenda. Days later, Mr. Menen­dez told Obama admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials that they sounded as if they were ped­dling “talk­ing points that come straight out of Tehran” in argu­ing against his sanc­tions bill.

2. Rus­sia

All the while, Mr. Menen­dez has agi­tated for a more aggres­sive response to Russia’s aggres­sion in Ukraine, call­ing for more sanc­tions on Moscow and mil­i­tary assis­tance to Kiev.

3. Menendez’s sup­port of dis­si­dents from coun­tries other than Cuba: He vig­or­ously sup­ports the State of Israel against Iran-​sponsored Hamas in Gaza, which also fig­ures in his sup­port of inter­na­tional sanc­tions against the Iran­ian nuclear pro­gram – sanc­tions that Ecuador and Venezuela attempt to help Iran avoid. And, by the way, last year the story was that Menen­dez was allegedly help­ing a pair of Ecuado­rian fugi­tive bankers.

The “Ecuado­rian fugi­tive bankers” are broth­ers William and Roberto Isaías, who fled Ecuador ten years ago after the gov­ern­ment allegedly con­fis­cated media out­lets they owned which were crit­i­cal of the gov­ern­ment. They are here legally.

As rank­ing mem­ber of the Com­mit­tee on For­eign Rela­tions, his word car­ries a lot of weight. Bring­ing him down is tak­ing a heck of a lot of work. The senior sen­a­tor from NJ is not giv­ing up.

The die on the dis­as­trous Iran deal may already have been cast and Menendez’s six-​point rebut­tal may amount to Fail­ure The­ater. No mat­ter what, sink­ing Menen­dez sends out a clear message.

UPDATE:
Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin Amer­i­can pol­i­tics, news and cul­ture at Fausta’s Blog.

As Pete notes, the knives are out against Robert Menendez, with lurid headlines again screaming Sen. Robert Menendez may have had sex with underage hookers in Dominican Republic. Menendez’s office again denied the accusations, which are part of a larger case (emphasis added),

And unlike in many federal public corruption cases, this prosecution revolves, in part, around testimony by ex-girlfriends of Menendez and his donor, the eye doctor Melgen. The Justice Department says at least six of those girlfriends are “direct witnesses to the corrupt relationship between the defendants.” Prosecutors added that they didn’t call all of the men’s former paramours, only those who benefited from the alleged corruption.

Woe betide those whose former girlfriends talk, or whose divorce records are opened.

It’s curious to see the hooker story pop up again. I have been blogging on the case for the last couple of years, and noted that a grand jury in Florida already found no basis for the prostitution allegations. Let’s not forget why it has.

The knives are out on Menendez for three reasons, all pertaining to foreign policy:
1. The Iran deal (about which we have been posting), and Cuba:

Mr. Menendez sharply questioned State Department officials about Mr. Obama’s move to open diplomatic relations with Cuba, calling it “a bad deal” that “compromised bedrock principles for virtually no concessions.” In December, Mr. Menendez, a son of Cuban immigrants who has made opposition to the Castro leadership a centerpiece of his political life, said Mr. Obama’s decision had “vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government.”

He has also battled with Mr. Obama over a bill to impose new sanctions on Iran, which the president argues would undermine talks to prevent Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Mr. Menendez is a co-sponsor of the bill.

And during Mr. Obama’s State of the Union address last month, Mr. Menendez sat grim-faced as other Democrats cheered the president’s promise to veto any effort to roll back his domestic agenda. Days later, Mr. Menendez told Obama administration officials that they sounded as if they were peddling “talking points that come straight out of Tehran” in arguing against his sanctions bill.

2. Russia

All the while, Mr. Menendez has agitated for a more aggressive response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, calling for more sanctions on Moscow and military assistance to Kiev.

3. Menendez’s support of dissidents from countries other than Cuba: He vigorously supports the State of Israel against Iran-sponsored Hamas in Gaza, which also figures in his support of international sanctions against the Iranian nuclear program – sanctions that Ecuador and Venezuela attempt to help Iran avoid. And, by the way, last year the story was that Menendez was allegedly helping a pair of Ecuadorian fugitive bankers.

The “Ecuadorian fugitive bankers” are brothers William and Roberto Isaías, who fled Ecuador ten years ago after the government allegedly confiscated media outlets they owned which were critical of the government. They are here legally.

As ranking member of the Committee on Foreign Relations, his word carries a lot of weight. Bringing him down is taking a heck of a lot of work. The senior senator from NJ is not giving up.

The die on the disastrous Iran deal may already have been cast and Menendez’s six-point rebuttal may amount to Failure Theater. No matter what, sinking Menendez sends out a clear message.

UPDATE:
Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news and culture at Fausta’s Blog.