Egypt: US Sen. Menendez charged with acting as an Agent of Cairo

US Senator Robert Menendez has been have accused by federal prosecutors of acting as a foreign agent on behalf of the Egyptian government.

US federal prosecutors on Thursday filed a superseding indictment against Senator Robert Menendez alleging that the longtime chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee used his public position to act as a foreign agent on behalf of the Egyptian government.

The new charge stems from the prosecutors’ ongoing case against the New Jersey senator, in which they accuse Menendez and his wife, Nadine, of providing political favors to three businessmen, Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes, in exchange for bribes of money and even gold bars.

In addition to Menendez, his wife and Hana are facing a charge of “conspiracy for a public official to act as a foreign agent.”

In the initial indictment unveiled last month, prosecutors alleged that Nadine Menendez introduced her husband to Hana, an Egyptian American, who in turn connected Menendez with Egyptian officials.

Following that meeting, Menendez allegedly provided sensitive information about the amount of staff in the U.S. Embassy in Cairo as well as details about U.S. military aid to Egypt to Hana, either directly or through his wife, who would then share the information with Egyptian officials.

Menendez is also alleged to have intervened when the USDA contested the monopoly that Hana’s halal company had over certifications of U.S. meat exports to Egypt.

Hana is being accused of using his company to facilitate bribes to Menendez and his wife including one instance where his company paid around $23,000 toward Nadine Menendez’s mortgage.

The senator is believed to have advocated for positions favorable to members of the Egyptian government, at one time writing to the then state and treasury secretaries about stalled negotiations over a dam.

The letter came after Menendez’s wife arranged a meeting between her husband and an Egyptian official. In one text-message exchange prior to setting up the meeting, Menendez’s wife wrote to an Egyptian official, “Anytime you need anything you have my number and we will make everything happen.”

As a U.S. senator, Menendez is forbidden from acting on behalf of a foreign nation as dictated by the Foreign Agents Registration Act. In the new indictment, prosecutors cite several instances where Menendez implored the Justice Department to investigate other members of Congress who failed to register under FARA, indicating that the senator was aware of the rule. They also note that Menendez’s wife and Hana “have never registered as foreign agents or lobbyists.”

Menendez has maintained his innocence since he was first charged in September and has indicated that he will not step down from office despite many of his Senate and even House colleagues calling on him to resign. As the case is ongoing, Menendez has stepped down from his prestigious role as Senate Foreign Relations chairman.

Senator John Fetterman, the first in the chamber to call for Menendez to step down following the initial indictment, is now urging his colleagues in Congress to expel the senator for this new charge.

“Senator Menendez should not be a U.S Senator. He should have been gone long ago. It is time for every one of my colleagues in the Senate to join me in expelling Senator Menendez,” he said in a statement.

“We cannot have an alleged foreign agent in the United States Senate. This is not a close call.”