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Menendez Trial Could Have Big Impact on the Balance of Power in the U.S. Senate

Donald Trump could soon get a much-needed new ally in the United States Senate.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) was indicted on federal corruption charges and will be on trial next week. If Menendez is found guilty, it could have a major impact on the balance of power inside the United States Senate.

The New Jersey senator is accused “of taking bribes, including luxury trips and campaign contributions, from a wealthy patron since shortly after he was first elected to the Senate in 2006.”

Despite these charges, Menendez is still running for reelection in 2018.

If Menendez is convicted, he will face intense pressure to resign.

The Senate does not require that a member who is a convicted felon resign. This means that the Republican-controlled Senate could seek to expel Menendez. Only a two-thirds vote is needed to expel a member of the Senate, and with 10 Democratic Senators up for re-election in 2018, it is possible Republicans could achieve that threshold.

Reuters reported on Friday on the possibility of Menendez being replaced by someone appointed by New Jersey governor and Trump supporter, Chris Christie:

“[Menendez] replacement, at least until January, would be named by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican and ally of President Donald Trump. That would add to the Republicans’ 52-48 Senate majority only months after their bid to repeal former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law failed by a single vote.”

“Christie cannot run for re-election due to term limits, and polls suggest Democratic candidate Phil Murphy is likely to succeed him in January.”

This means that if Menendez is expelled quickly enough from the Senate, Trump could get a much-needed ally in the Senate for just long enough to get some major legislation though.