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What about Bob?

What about Bob?

Like Senator Bob. Menendez, DN.J.? I mean, that's Sen. Bob who was indicted. Menendez, D.N.J.

The senator faces charges of being a foreign agent of Egypt.

“How can you expel Rep. (former George) Santos (R.N.Y.) and not take action against a real scumbag like Menendez?” Pennsylvania Democrat. Sen. John Fetterman asked.

Senate Leadership Silent About Possible Expulsion of Senator Menendez Santos After Delegation Expulsion

Photographic evidence shows New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, Nadine Menendez, and five Egyptian government officials meeting at a private dinner at the official's home. (U.S. District Court)

Pennsylvania Democrats pointed out that a federal court just acquitted Menendez of corruption charges several years ago.

“This is the second dance of prom,” Fetterman said. “He must believe he was empowered or he could get away with it.”

Fetterman is new to the Senate and is still learning the ropes of the Senate.

“You have to work hard to get expelled from the Senate,” Fetterman opined.

For decades, informal standards have existed for the conditions necessary for the House and Senate to expel a member. It had to be either a prisoner or a Confederate. In the 1860s, both the House and Senate expelled Confederate members from their ranks. The House subsequently expelled former Rep. Ozzie Meyers (D-Pennsylvania) in 1980 and the late Rep. Jim Traficant (D-Ohio) in 2002. Both men were convicted in federal court.

The only exception to expulsion was the late Tennessee State Senator William Blount in 1797. The House of Lords reprimanded Blount for treason for trying to help Britain.

Gold bullion hidden in Democratic senator's home recovered after violent robbery in 2013

But everyone else was either a Confederate soldier or a prisoner.

That was the case until George Santos.

John Fetterman

Democratic Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) said Sen. Bob Menendez (D.N.J.) should be expelled from the Senate. (Bill Clark)

Mr. Santos has been charged with defrauding his election campaign and faces a series of federal charges. A report by the House Ethics Committee found that the former lawmaker defrauded donors and used the money to buy luxury goods at Hermès and undergo Botox treatments.

Mr. Santos will go on trial in February. Mr. Menendez will go on trial in May.

Both Mr. Santos and Mr. Menendez hold similar legal status. However, one will remain in office and one will resign.

But is there a new precedent on Capitol Hill after Santos' ouster?

House Democrats were poised to mount an onslaught if Republicans failed to oust Santos last week. Failure to expel Santos from the House would have been a gift for Democrats. The party could point to Republicans' refusal to expel Santos as an example of what the House majority got wrong heading into 2024. This is on top of the general chaos that has saturated the House of Commons throughout the year. The chairman election was held over five days in January. The speakers were removed in October. His three-week struggle to elect a new speaker – along the way his three candidates were reduced to ashes. Dancing with the debt ceiling. Two affairs during the government shutdown. And there were various fights over pending spending bills and other initiatives.

But Mr. Santos' ouster could be an opportunity for Senate Republicans to criticize Democrats over Mr. Menendez. Republicans could use such an approach to target vulnerable lawmakers in red and purple states who face tough redistricting this year. Think of Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania, Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Jon Tester, D-Mont.

The double standard between Santos and Menendez seems obvious. But so far, Republicans have not seized this opportunity.

George Santos outside the Capitol

Congressman George Santos was ousted from his seat in the House of Representatives in November. (J. Scott Applewhite)

“This is an internal matter for the majority,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in response to a question about Menendez. “He obviously has external problems. I'll leave it to the majority leader to decide how to deal with that.”

McConnell also said he was “glad” that Menendez “is not a Republican.”

You asked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D.N.Y.) whether the Ethics Committee should investigate Mr. Menendez in the same way the House Ethics Committee investigated Mr. Santos, and whether the senators I genuinely asked if I should kick him out.

Schumer avoided.

“The Senate has standards of appropriate behavior, and Sen. Menendez's actions fall well short of those standards,” Schumer said, moving on to another question.

CNN's Manu Raju asked Schumer whether it was “appropriate” for Menendez to attend the confidential briefing on Ukraine, given his responsibility to act on behalf of the Egyptians. . At the time, Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy was scheduled to speak to senators via a secure video conference line.

“He has the right to do that as a senator,” Schumer of Menendez responded. “I'll have to ask him.”

As in the House of Representatives, a two-thirds vote is required to expel a senator. It's unclear whether the Senate can reach that level with Menendez. The Senate hasn't expelled anyone since 1862, but it did hint at expelling the late Sen. Harrison Williams (D.N.J.) in the 1980s. So did former Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.) in the 1990s.

It's about “math” if the Senate ousts Menendez. But Rep. Byron Donald, R-Florida, is making a case for Democratic inaction against the New Jersey Democratic Party.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer gives a speech

“The Senate has standards for appropriate behavior, and Sen. Menendez's actions fall well below those standards,” said Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer. (Kevin Dietch)

“Democrats don't do this to their people. They protect their members,” Donalds charged. “Second, they have a slim majority in the Senate, and Chuck Schumer is not going to give it up over the indictment. That's why there's no resolution in the Senate. Let's call it what it is. ”

In the Senate, there are currently 51 senators who caucus with Democrats and 49 Republicans. So even if the Senate were to expel Menendez, Democrats would maintain a 50-49 majority and Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy would still appoint a Democrat to the Senate.

Fetterman demands the senator. Menendez to be expelled from Senate for 'opinions': 'Egypt's senator is not New Jersey'

Perhaps his wife? Tammy Murphy is running for Menendez's seat in the Democratic primary.

If Democrats somehow lose the New Jersey seat, the Senate will be split 50-50. However, based on the 2001-2002 and 2021-2002 operating agreements for the Senate, Democrats are likely to maintain the majority thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris' vote to preside over the Senate.

Schumer was not the only Democrat reluctant to consider whether Mr. Menendez should be subject to the same discipline as Mr. Santos.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D.N.J.) responded to the question by saying, “I'm not a senator. I don't know any of the rules.”

However, the “rules” are the same for both the House and Senate. Article 1, Section 5 of the Constitution declares that both bodies may expel members without condition. The Constitution is silent on motives and grounds.

It comes down to a question of political will.

After much confusion, the House of Representatives chose to establish a new precedent and expel Mr. Santos. The House of Representatives passed resolutions blocking two previous efforts to oust Santos, but changed its stance after the House Ethics Committee compiled a scathing report on Santos.

Democratic US Senator Bob Menendez

On Wednesday, September 27, 2023, Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey arrives at a federal courthouse in New York. (Seth Wenig)

The Senate Ethics Committee has not even considered a possible investigation into Menendez. Ironically, the Senate considered expelling Bob Packwood for sexual harassment in the 1990s, even though he was never criminally charged.

Ironically, the top Republican on the Ethics Committee at the time was Mitch McConnell. At the time, McConnell said Packwood had a “regular pattern of aggressive and sexually explicit advances.” The Ethics Committee recommended that Mr. Packwood be expelled from the university. However, Mr. Packwood ultimately resigned.

It is doubtful that there are enough votes to oust Menendez.

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However, in this case, the problem is not just math.

It's really about political will.

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