When asked whether Sen. Bob Menendez should resign if convicted…
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) – Ignored the question. (Video)
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) – “I haven't really been paying attention to the trial.” (CNN)
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) – Declined to comment. (Detroit News)
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) – Declined to say. (CNN)
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) – “I think I’m not going to go down that path.” (Video)
NJ Gov. candidate Phil Murphy (D-NJ) – “I haven’t really thought about it, to be honest with you.” (Observer)
Senate Dems hope the Menendez trial goes away quickly - and several won't say yet if he should go if convicted https://t.co/97OeOqWT9E— Manu Raju (@mkraju) September 6, 2017
Democrats eager to avoid the subject of Menendez's bribery trial
Manu Raju & Sophie Tatum
September 6, 2017
New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez's corruption trial is putting Senate Democrats in a bind.
His fellow Democrats are eager to avoid the subject of Menendez's bribery trial, hoping that he is exonerated and then he can focus on his 2018 reelection battle in the Garden State.
But there is fear inside Democratic circles that Menendez may get convicted and refuse to give up his seat, facing pressure to resign or an expulsion vote in the Senate. If the Democrat were to step aside while Gov. Chris Christie remains office, the Republican would pick a replacement.
Yet if Menendez's legal problems worsen and he decides to run for reelection, it could jeopardize a key seat in a critical election year.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday declined to say if he would stand by Menendez if he's convicted. …
Asked if he would continue to stand by Menendez if the New Jersey Democrat were convicted, Schumer ignored the question.
Democrats who face reelection in 2018 also are in an awkward position -- especially as prosecutors lay out the charges in a trial that could take weeks.
Asked if he'd continue to stand by Menendez if he were convicted, Manchin declined to say, adding: "Whatever the verdict is we'll deal with it at that time."
Sen. Jon Tester, the Montana Democrat who also faces voters next year, also declined to comment, saying his attention has been focused on wildfires in his state.
"I haven't really been paying attention to the trial," Tester said.
Menendez is currently on trial for public corruption two years after charges were filed against the New Jersey politician and his alleged co-conspirator, Dr. Salomon Melgen.
Prosecutors say Menendez acted in his "official capacity" to help advance personal and business interests of Melgen, and call the men's relationship a "corrupt pact."
Prosecutors accuse Menendez of accepting gifts from Melgen, including luxurious vacations and large campaign donations, in exchange for help in government matters, including disputes over Medicare reimbursements.
Sixty-seven members must vote to expel a senator from the body, meaning at least 15 Democrats would have to join the 52-member Senate Republican Conference in doing so.
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