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Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) is calling on Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) to resign in the face of corruption charges, his office confirmed to The Hill.
Phillips, a member of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, said that while everyone is innocent until proven guilty, a member of Congress that has appeared to have broken the law should resign. He is the first Democratic lawmaker to push for Menendez to step down.
“Yes, I am a Democrat and so is Sen. Menendez, but based on what I have seen, I am disappointed and yes, I think he should resign,” Phillips said in an interview with CNN.
Phillips said that Democratic leaders in Congress should lean on him and push him out.
“Look I am trying to restore faith in government; that’s one of my missions. It’s a lot of my colleagues’ missions, and sometimes we have to walk that talk, even if it’s uncomfortable. And I would argue that this time, yes, the answer is absolutely,” Phillips said.
Rep. Andy Kim also called on Menendez to resign Friday, becoming the second House Democrat and first member of the New Jersey delegation to do so.
In addition, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY.) announced that Menendez will step down from his position as Foreign Relations Committee chairman.
The U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York announced federal bribery charges against Menendez and his wife, Nadine, tied to their relationship with three New Jersey businessmen; prosecutors allege they agreed to and accepted “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in bribes. In exchange, the senator’s power would be used to enrich the three businessman and benefit Egypt.
Menendez faces three counts, including a charge for public officials who take bribes in exchange for official acts, known as conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right.
The investigation is ongoing. Menendez, in a statement, said that prosecutors’ claims against him and his wife are false and that he believes the matter will be “successfully resolved” once all the facts are revealed.
—Updated at 4:46 p.m.