If the corruption trial of Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez ends in a conviction, Republican Gov. Chris Christie would be responsible for picking his successor, potentially heralding the end of Obamacare.
Republicans in the Senate were just one vote away from passing an Obamacare repeal last month, and if Menendez gets forced out of office on a conviction, Christie, a Republican and long-time Trump supporter, would almost certainly pick a Republican to replace him. Christie will leave office Jan. 16, however, so the jury will need to hand down a conviction before then if Senate Republicans hope to secure the potential 53-37 majority.
Menendez stands charged with using his office to further the business interests of long-time friend Dr. Salomon Melgen, who was convicted in April of stealing $105 million through Medicare fraud between 2008 and 2013. Records show the senator accepted several campaign donations from Melgen, including vacations to Paris and the Dominican Republic, ABC News reported.
Prosecutors allege that Menendez repeatedly met with then-Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and acting Medicare administrator Marilyn Tavenner to intercede on Melgen’s behalf in Medicare disputes.
Republicans are aware of their potential opportunity and are actively pushing Democratic senators to declare whether they’d support Menendez keeping his office if he’s convicted.
Dems like Chuck Schumer should be asked if they would support a convicted felon serving in their caucus. https://t.co/iych6GAxgd
— GOP (@GOP) August 17, 2017
The Democratic position won’t matter much, however, if Menendez is sentenced to time in federal prison — a likely scenario if he’s convicted. Most federal corruption cases, whether relating to charges of bribery, graft, or conspiracy, result in a minimum of four years in prison.
The Daily Caller News Foundation contacted the offices of nine members of Democratic Senate leadership, including Sens. Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren, but received no responses in time for publication.
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