Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders refused to say whether or not New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez should resign if he’s convicted of charges related to corruption.
“Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa,” Sanders told Jake Tapper on CNN’s ‘State of the Union” Sunday morning. “You know, I think in this country, people are entitled to due process. I’m not into speculating what if. That will be Menendez’s decision. He has not been convicted. Let the process take its course.”
“You know, in America, that’s what it’s about. You have a trail and people. The jury makes its decision. They have not made their decision, so I think it’s a little bit premature to be talking about that,” he concluded.
Sanders is the next name on the list of Democratic senators that have refused to call for their indicted colleague to resign. Sens. Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Claire McCaskill, Joe Manchin, Jon Tester, Debbie Stabenow, and Ben Cardin have all gone on the record about the issue but have refused to address the topic of Menendez’s resignation.
Menendez is currently embroiled in a corruption case that alleges he took bribes from Dr. Salomon Melgen of Florida in exchange for political favors. Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges, and the senator plans to run for re-election in 2018.
A recent poll of New Jersey voters found that 84 percent believe the senator should resign if he’s convicted. Only 20 percent of local voters have a favorable view of his time in office. Democrats were only slightly more forgiving — 77 percent of left-leaning voters said he should resign if convicted.
“Once he is exonerated, and has the ability again to control his own message in his re-election campaign next year, we fully expect his numbers to rehabilitate,” spokesman Michael Soliman told USA Today.
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