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Menendez: White House’s least favorite Dem



file photo by Boyd Loving Sen. Robert Menendez swearing in our mayor at Ridgewood REORG

Menendez: White House’s least favorite Dem

“I have to be honest with you, the more I hear from the administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran,” Menendez. “And it feeds to the Iranian narrative of victimization when they are the ones with original sin–an illicit nuclear weapons program, going back over the course of 20 years, that they are unwilling to come clean on.”

“President Obama’s actions have vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government,” Menendez, known for his tough stance on Cuba, said in a statement.

Published  3:36 PM EST Mar 06, 2015

WASHINGTON (CNN) —Sen. Robert Menendez might be a senior Democrat but he’s no friend of the White House.

In fact, he’s emerged as one of the most troublesome obstacles to President Barack Obama’s legacy-building effort to end decades of U.S. estrangement with Cuba and Iran. He’s also poked the administration on its troubled relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom he shares a hawkish outlook towards Tehran.

But the senior senator from New Jersey, 61, is now in the news for a different reason, after CNN first reported Friday that the Justice Department is preparing to bring criminal charges against him.

People briefed on the case say prosecutors plan to allege that Menendez used his Senate office to push the business interests of a Democratic donor and friend in exchange for gifts. The charges, which are expected to be formally laid within weeks, threaten to seriously imperil Menendez’s political prospects at a time when his influence in Washington has rarely been greater.

Menendez is currently the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, after serving briefly as chairman when his predecessor John Kerry left to become Secretary of State and before Democrats lost the Senate majority last year.

But his position in the minority belies his influence.