Leading Democrats inside and outside of New Jersey refused to confront the possibility of a Menendez conviction on the first day of the veteran U.S. Senator’s federal corruption trial.
Their answers were evasive:
“Sen. Menendez is issuing a spirited defense,” Democrat Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Wednesday. “We all believe in the presumption of innocence in this country, and Sen. Menendez is fighting very hard. And we respect that greatly.”
Evasive and, in the case of presumptive New Jersey gubernatorial nominee Phil Murphy (D-Goldman Sachs), downright mystifying:
Should a US Senator convicted of a federal crime stay in the Senate? "I haven't really thought about it," Phil Murphy says.
— Christian Hetrick (@_Hetrick) September 6, 2017
The stakes couldn’t be much higher for Democrats; if Menendez is convicted and either removed or forced to resigned, Chris Christie may be able to appoint a Republican before he leaves office and swing key health care, immigration and tax debates in the U.S. Congress.