Calls for U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez to resign intensified on Thursday after a federal grand jury indicted him on fresh charges of acting as an unregistered foreign agent and accepting bribes on behalf of the government of Egypt.
At least one federal lawmaker said that if the New Jersey Democrat doesn't step down, the Senate should vote on expelling him.
"I cannot stand by as the senator representing my family and my state has been accused of acting as a foreign agent," said U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.). "Given the severity of these charges, the U.S. Senate should vote on expulsion."
According to the superseding indictment, the senator's wife, Nadine Menendez, working with New Jersey businessman Wael Hana "to introduce Egyptian intelligence and military officials to Menendez for the purpose of establishing and solidifying a corrupt agreement."
Menendez acted as an "agent of foreign principle" to the Egyptian government from January 2018 until June 2022, the indictment says—a period when he was serving as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He allegedly did not register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Authorities also said Hana worked with two other New Jersey businessmen, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes, to provide "hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes to Menendez and Nadine Menendez, in exchange for Menendez's acts and breaches of duty to benefit the government of Egypt, Hana, and others, including with respect to foreign military sales and foreign military financing."
The senator allegedly "provided sensitive U.S. government information and took other steps that secretly aided the government of Egypt," prosecutors said.
"The superseding indictment makes it clear and undeniable: Egypt tried to buy changes in American foreign policy with bribes," said Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), calling on Menendez to resign.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) echoed the call for the senator's immediate resignation, while Jordan Zakarin, reporter for the labor-focused media organization More Perfect Union, said Democrats should move to expel him.
"Let Republicans object and try to keep him if they want, but this lifelong grifter has to go right now," said Zakarin.
Menendez and his wife pleaded not guilty last month to corruption charges after prosecutors accused them of using the senator's influence to benefit Egypt in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars and a Mercedes-Benz.
Those charges also led to
from members of Congress for the senator's resignation.
On Thursday, prosecutors asked a judge to seize the luxury car as well as the couple's residence in New Jersey.
Menendez was also indicted in 2015 in another bribery scheme. A trial ended in a hung jury in 2017.