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.
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.
Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!
Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news and culture at Fausta’s Blog.