Embattled Sen. Menendez still welcome at Obama White House

Vince Coglianese Editorial Director
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While Democratic leaders have softened the tone of their allegiance to embattled New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the White House remains publicly unconcerned about working closely with the powerful Democrat.

Menendez is one of four senators meeting with President Barack Obama Wednesday afternoon at the White House to discuss immigration reform, according to Fox News’ Chad Pergram.

A White House official announced the meeting in a statement to reporters. (RELATED: FBI Menendez investigation moved to New Jersey)

“Later this afternoon, the [p]resident will meet with Senate Democrats leading the effort to pass bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform. The meeting is part of the ongoing effort to continue to make progress towards bipartisan reform, which the [a]dministration believes should happen as quickly as possible,” the official wrote.

Menendez has come under fire for a laundry list of alleged and proven misdeeds, including: failing to quickly reimburse friend and donor Dr. Salomon Melgen for private flights to the Dominican Republic; apparently helping Melgen push the U.S. government to clear the way for a $500 million Dominican port security contract the doctor had a stake in; arguing to the government that Melgen’s extensive, apparent Medicare fraud was legally in-bounds; hiring an illegal immigrant sex offender as an intern in his Senate office; and allegedly engaging the services of underage prostitutes.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was dismissive of early reports about Menendez’s conduct, but has since softened his resistance to an investigation.

“I have confidence he did nothing wrong,” Reid told ABC News. “But that’s what investigations are all about.”

When asked in late January if President Obama still has “full faith and confidence” in Menendez, White House spokesman Jay Carney declined to give an indication.

“I’ve seen those reports,” said Carney. “I don’t have anything for you on it.”

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