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Vermont Sens. Peter Welch, Bernie Sanders call on Sen. Bob Menendez to resign

A man in a suit and tie is flanked by reporters holding phones out to record
Mark Schiefelbein
Associated Press
Sen. Peter Welch, D-Vt., talks with reporters as he arrives for a vote on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023 in Washington.

Sen. Peter Welch and Sen. Bernie Sanders are calling on New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez to resign following his indictment on federal bribery charges last week.

Welch, D-Vt., issued a statement Monday saying, "The shocking and specific allegations against Senator Menendez have wholly compromised his capacity to be that effective Senator."

Welch joined Democratic senators Sherrod Brown from Ohio, and John Fetterman from Pennsylvania in calling for Menendez's resignation.

In an indictment unsealed Friday, authorities allege finding a luxury convertible and nearly half a million dollars in cash and gold bars at the senator’s house.

Prosecutors say those were given to Menendez in exchange for using his position to benefit the government of Egypt.

As of Monday, Menendez had pushed back against the charges and calls to resign, saying that the cash found in his home was from personal savings.

Rep. Becca Balint, D-Vt., also said that Menendez should step down. Speaking on Tuesday's Vermont Edition, Balint said Menendez was entitled to the presumption of innocence, but not entitled to remain in the Senate while going through a serious trial.

"I've been very concerned for a long time that there is an eroding of faith in government. This does nothing to help us shore up the public trust in government," Balint said. "It's a very very sad day for for all of us when you have a sitting senator get indicted on these very serious charges."

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., joined the calls Tuesday evening. In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Sanders wrote, "Sen. Menendez should resign. If he doesn’t, a Senate Ethics Committee investigation must go forward immediately."

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Mikaela Lefrak is the host and senior producer of Vermont Edition. Her stories have aired nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Marketplace, The World and Here & Now. A seasoned local reporter, Mikaela has won two regional Edward R. Murrow awards and a Public Media Journalists Association award for her work.
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