Senator Bob Menendez and his wife Nadine Menendez (not seen) depart a Manhattan court after they were arraigned on federal bribery charges in New York, September 27, 2023.
Fatih Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Asked what his message would be, Menendez told NBC News, “I’ll share it with them,” as he walked into the U.S. Capitol.
When asked why more than $150,000 worth of gold bars were found by federal agents at his home in New Jersey, Menendez said, “I’ll share what I have to share with my colleagues.”
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has not joined other members of the caucus in asking Menendez to quit.
But Schumer told reporters Wednesday, “We’ll see what happens after” Menendez speaks to the caucus at a closed-door lunch.
Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, who was the first Democrat to call for Menendez to step down, in a social media post on Thursday wrote, “Unless Senator Menendez is coming today to resign, I am not interested in hearing his ‘explanation’ for gold bars stashed in a mattress.”
Menendez, 69, last week was charged with conspiracy to commit bribery and other charges with his wife, Nadine, and three New Jersey businessmen.
The couple pleaded not guilty Wednesday to the charges in federal court in Manhattan.
Prosecutors have said that a raid on their house last year found not only the gold but also hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, and a Mercedes-Benz convertible that they allegedly received in exchange for Menendez using his influence to try to help the three men.
The senator has repeatedly said he does not plan to resign.
Twenty-nine Democratic senators, and Vermont independent Bernie Sanders, who caucuses with them, have urged Menendez to step down.
Among them are Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate majority whip, as well as third-ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, and Patty Murray of Washington, the Senate president pro tempore.
This is developing news. Please check back for updates.