New Jersey Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez was indicted on bribery charges Friday, and if it were 2013, the high-fiving by right-wing Twitter nerds wouldn’t be so cringey.
There’s nothing to be giddy about. Menendez has been in legal jeopardy for literally my entire career in Washington, D.C. He was investigated by the FBI in 2013 for allegedly having sex with underage prostitutes in the Caribbean. The Justice Department just five years ago dropped corruption charges after a State Department official testified that the senator threatened him on behalf of a rich donor friend.
If any previous attempts to prosecute Menendez were serious, whether it be for overseas sex crimes or blatant corruption at home, he would have served at least one day in prison. But, to date, that has never happened. He remains a sitting senator.
In fairness, Menendez recently reprimanded Joe Biden for incentivizing foreign governments to hold Americans hostage, and in 2021, he called the president’s deadly Afghanistan withdrawal “horrifying,” so he probably had another round of indictments coming.
The curious and sudden prosecution of a Democrat senator from a reliably Democrat state, which will fill the seat with another (likely corrupt) Democrat, is a distraction tossed out by Biden’s DOJ. It’s child’s play. Don’t eat what they throw on the floor.
See?! No one is above the law! Democrats are held to account, too!
The media will dutifully repeat the line, and the faction of the right that prefers publicly whining over actually accomplishing anything will oblige. (That faction is often referred to as “National Review, the Wall Street Journal editorial board, anything written by Bret Stephens, everything squeezed out of Mitt Romney, and whatever is on Fox News these days.”)
I’m tempted to believe Menendez exists solely for the Justice Department to claim it’s impartial, but I won’t say that out loud. Either way, his forever-late prosecution is meaningless when the backdrop is the DOJ’s multiple charges against the near-certain Republican presidential nominee (over nothing), plus the attempt to keep him from talking about it while campaigning, plus the sticky sweet deal the Department cut for the sitting president’s drug addict criminal son (since rejected by a judge who, like everyone else, saw through it).
Biden’s Justice Department is chasing down old ladies for picketing inside the Capitol building, intimidating parents who complain about their public schools, locking up pro-lifers caught praying in front of abortion clinics, and, least of all, throwing everything in its arsenal at the former president, who is also Biden’s biggest threat to reelection in 2024.
A Democrat senator who should have faced prison time years ago is now in the crosshairs after allegedly accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars, gold bricks, and a sports car in exchange for help with navigating the government. It changes nothing about how deeply rotted the Justice Department has become. Don’t give it credit it doesn’t deserve.