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Schumer: Menendez Fighting Very Hard, and We Respect That Greatly

Schumer said Menendez is “issuing a spirited defense” against the corruption charges he faces.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that Sen. Bob Menendez, who is on trial in a federal corruption case, “is issuing a spirited defense,” and that Senate Democrats “respect that greatly,” during a press conference on Wednesday.

A reporter asked Schumer about Menendez who is on trial, charged with 18 counts of fraud and bribery along with his co-defendant Dr. Salomon Melgen.

“Look, Senator Menendez is – is issuing a spirited defense. We all believe in the presumption of innocence in this country,” Schumer responded. “Senator Menendez is fighting very hard, and we respect that greatly.”

It’s possible that Senate Democrats appreciate the defense Menendez is presenting because if convicted it could mean a massive power shift in Washington.

Reuters reported on this possibility last week as Menendez’s replacement would be appointed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican and a close ally of President Trump:

“[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.”

What might be even more problematic for Senate Democrats is if Menendez is convicted, his conviction will most certainly be used against Democrats in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.