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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.

This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Gen. Mark Milley, polarizing Joint Chiefs chairman, exits center stage

Gen. Mark Milley, polarizing Joint Chiefs chairman, exits center stage

“Admirers say he helped save American democracy. Critics contend he dragged the military deeper into the country’s toxic political fray.

Gen. Mark A. Milley testifies at a House appropriations hearing on the defense budget last year. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post) 

As the war in Ukraine approached its first anniversary, the Pentagon’s top officer, Gen. Mark A. Milley, assessed the carnage that had followed Russia’s full-scale invasion: With more than than 100,000 soldiers likely killed or wounded on each side, he said, there was a “window of opportunity” for the combatants to hammer out a deal.

Milley told an audience in New York that both parties must recognize victory may not be “achievable through military means.” He drew a comparison to World War I, explaining how strategists a century earlier had predicted a swift end to the bloodshed, only for it to become an unwinnable standoff that killed millions and set the stage for World War II. “Things can get worse, so when there’s an opportunity to negotiate, when peace can be achieved, seize it,” Milley said. “Seize the moment.”

The declaration was classic Milley, according to colleagues and observers who have worked closely with him. The general, immersed in military history and alarmed by the potential for escalation with Russia, the largest nuclear power in the world, was publicly advocating a position the Biden administration had eschewed as the president and other top advisers sought to project unqualified support for Ukraine’s defense. It was a notion that unnerved America’s partners in Kyiv.

Milley, whose four-year tenure as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ends with his retirement this month, will exit center stage as one of the most consequential and polarizing military chiefs in recent memory, leading America’s armed forces through a fraught period that included the precarious final months of Donald Trump’s presidency, a disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, and Washington’s high-stakes standoff with Moscow.

Admirers commend the brash Boston-area native for steering the military through Trump’s attempts to subvert democracy and the constitutional rule of law, keeping troops out of the 2020 election chaos and choreographing key aspects of the Pentagon’s support to Ukraine. Milley would say later he harbored concern that Trump might issue unlawful orders, and that, if he had, they “wouldn’t have been followed.”

Critics say the general stretched the bounds of what is expected to be a nonpartisan role, wading into hot-button debates again and again, and dragging the military farther into the political fray at a time when the institution’s public backing is already under strain. Some found him overly focused on his own legacy.

This account of Milley’s tenure as chairman is based on interviews with more than a dozen senior political appointees in both the Trump and Biden administrations, retired military officers and other Washington insiders. Several people spoke on the condition of anonymity to offer frank assessments of the general’s record. Collectively, they portrayed an outspoken, ambitious leader who offended some in his assumption and stewardship of the military’s premier assignment, and who fell from favor with one president only to find new footing with another, all while navigating Washington’s toxic politics.

Milley, through a spokesman, declined to be interviewed for this profile.

Gen. Mark A. Milley sits at a Senate hearing about Afghanistan in 2021. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post) 

Trump, apparently reacting to news coverage of the general’s impending retirement, said on his social media platform late Friday that Milley’s departure “will be a time for all citizens of the USA to celebrate!” He accused Milley of being a “train wreck,” and falsely stated that phone calls, authorized by Trump administration officials at the time, in which Milley sought to reassure Chinese officials that the United States was stable during the presidential transition were a “treasonous act.” Trump wrote, “This is an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH!”

Milley has not responded publicly to the allegations. He commented previously, though, that there is a “damaging drumbeat” of criticism directed at the Pentagon amounting to a “deliberate attempt, in my view, to smear the general officer corps and the leaders of the military, and to politicize the military.”

Like the general, retired Adm. Mike Mullen’s tenure as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, under Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama, spanned two presidents with vastly different outlooks and agendas, the second of whom sought to undo much of what his predecessor had done. Under any circumstances, Mullen said, the job is “ridiculously hard.” Milley, he added, “had more of a challenge” than most and is likely to “come out somewhere close to heroic” for his actions during the presidential transition.

“He was, and remains, a hell of a warfighter,” Mullen said.

‘Milley wanted the job, obviously’

Milley, an Army infantry officer and former college hockey player, has spent over 43 years in the military and emerged as Trump’s selection for chairman at an unexpected time. The president announced his decision on Twitter, now called X, in December 2018, surprising senior officials at the Pentagon just before an Army-Navy football game. The move was months ahead of schedule and seen by many as undercutting the chairman at that time, Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., who was slated to remain in the position until the following September but seen by Trump as insufficiently loyal.

Jim Mattis, at the time Trump’s defense secretary, had recommended Gen. David Goldfein, the chief of staff of the Air Force, to succeed Dunford. Others close to the president suggested instead that he go with Milley, who had been recommended by Mattis to lead U.S. European Command. Milley knew Mattis wanted him in Europe, people familiar with the matter said, but accepted the role of chairman when Trump offered. “Milley wanted the job, obviously,” said one retired senior U.S. military officer. “Mattis will probably never talk to him again.”Mattis, who resigned later that month while citing differences of opinion with Trump, declined to comment.

Initially, Trump seemed enamored with Milley, whose tough talk and extensive combat record impressed the president, two former U.S. officials said. By all accounts, the general understood the president could be unpredictable and capricious. His mentors and colleagues had warned him that serving directly under Trump may be volatile and end poorly.

On a rainy September day in Washington, Milley was sworn into office. During the ceremony, he promised the president to “always provide informed, candid and impartial military advice to you, the secretary of defense, the National Security Council and to the Congress.” Trump, in his remarks, called Milley “outstanding” and said he was a “friend” who deserved the position.

Overshadowing the moment, though, were news accounts indicating that the president was the subject of a whistleblower complaint stemming from a phone call that he had with Volodymyr Zelensky, then the newly elected leader of Ukraine. The scandal would result in the first of Trump’s two impeachments.

In the ensuing weeks, Milley and the Pentagon were thrust into the spotlight amid a number of high-profile national security events. First, was the bloody incursion by Turkish forces into northern Syria, jeopardizing the safety of hundreds of American troops deployed there. Next came the daring raid to kill Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. By late December 2019, after an American contractor was killed in Iraq and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad was breached, administration officials, having concluded Iranian-backed militias were responsible, hatched a plot to eliminate one of Tehran’s most celebrated military figures.

On Jan. 3, 2020, an American drone strike killed Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Quds Force, as he sat in a vehicle outside Baghdad International Airport. Milley and other U.S. officials defended the operation, saying intelligence had suggested that Soleimani was preparing to unleash a new wave of violence against U.S. personnel in the region. Iran responded with ballistic missile strikes against two American positions in Iraq, leaving dozens of troops with head injuries, but no fatalities.

Mark T. Esper, who became Trump’s defense secretary a few months before Milley took over the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in his memoir that while some senior U.S. officials at the time wanted to strike Iran quickly and repeatedly, he and Milley urged restraint and consideration of second-order effects. In an interview, Esper, who clashed with Trump over a number of policy disagreements, called Milley “an important adviser and partner to me through an extraordinarily complex and difficult time in American history.”

Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, the general responsible at that time for U.S. forces in the Middle East, said he has a “very, very, very high regard for Milley,” calling him “the only guy that stood by me” during some difficult days when, some feared, there was little standing in the way of a full-blown war with Iran. “I always felt Mark had my back up there in D.C. when nobody else was interested in doing that,” McKenzie said. Milley understood “the fact that moving forces in and out of the theater did send signals to Iran.”

‘I should not have been there’

In May 2020, after the police killing of George Floyd inspired racial justice protests in cities across the United States, Trump called for putting active-duty troops on America’s streets. But Milley and other senior defense officials saw great peril in any attempt to invoke the Insurrection Act, arguing instead that any violence should be addressed by law enforcement, not the military.

Weeks of tension finally boiled over on June 1, 2020, when law enforcement personnel abruptly and aggressively cleared hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Lafayette Square outside the White House, ahead of Trump and other officials marching to a church across the street in a show of force. Among them were Esper and, for a time, Milley.

The general, wearing his camouflage fatigues, broke off from the group shortly after Trump departed the White House, and later said that the situation came together so quickly that he did not initially realize what was happening. But the damage was done. Photographs of the spectacle caused a furor, with critics asserting that Trump had exploited the U.S. military to threaten the American people.

Milley considered resigning but was talked out of doing so by colleagues and others whose counsel he sought as he navigated Trump’s impulsive directives and desire to use the military to show political strength. Days later, the general issued an apology instead, telling an audience at the National Defense University in Washington that he had made a “mistake” and not realized what was happening until it was too late.

“I should not have been there,” Milley said. “My presence in that moment, and in that environment, created the perception of the military involved in domestic politics.”

The mea culpa, along with a similar one made by Esper, infuriated Trump to such a degree that neither man’s relationship with the president would recover. The two felt “hornswoggled” by the incident, according to a former U.S. official, after which both demonstrated greater independence from the White House.

For Milley’s part, he began a monthly campaign to underscore publicly that the military would take on no unconstitutional role in the looming presidential election or domestic politics more broadly. Speaking later to the House select committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, assault by Trump’s supporters on the U.S. Capitol, he cited several media interviews he had granted in addition to comments he made at the National Museum of the United States Army in November 2020.

“We are unique among militaries,” Milley said then. “We do not take an oath to a king or a queen, a tyrant or a dictator. We do not take an oath to an individual. No, we do not take an oath to a country, a tribe or religion. We take an oath to the Constitution.”

Mullen, the retired Joint Chiefs chairman, said the Lafayette Square episode hurt both Milley and the military. “You better think through what your boundaries are before you start” a job like the chairmanship, he said, “because you’re going to get slammed. You’ll be in the Oval [Office] one day and you’ve got 30 seconds. If you haven’t thought through what your boundaries are, you’re going to roll.”

‘Too much, too often and too loudly’

As President Biden took office, some Democrats wondered whether they could trust Milley, one of only a handful of senior U.S. officials due to stay on after the transition. The Biden administration, with its by-the-book national security process and deep bench of experienced Washington officials, would do business differently than its predecessors.

Milley earned trust along the way, observers said, advising Biden while not publicly disclosing their conversations. But under a sustained barrage of attacks from the former president and other conservatives, Milley continued to clash with critics.

One incident came during a House Armed Services Committee hearing in June 2021, as Republicans pressed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Milley over what they called “wokeness” within the armed forces. They singled out an elective course on race being taught to cadets attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and a policy under Austin, implemented after dozens of military veterans participated in the Capitol riot, requiring all service members to spend a couple of hours learning about domestic extremism.

Milley told lawmakers he personally found it “offensive” that the military was being called out for “studying some theories that are out there.” The general said he wanted to “understand White rage” and what compelled thousands of people to assault Congress. “I’ve read Mao Tse Tung. I’ve read Karl Marx. I’ve read Lenin. That doesn’t make me a communist,” he added. “So what is wrong with” having “some situational understanding about the country for which we are here to defend?”

His statement went viral, becoming another example of Milley, in uniform, saying what critics believe would have been better left to a civilian political appointee. “One of the things about going to the Hill is, ‘Don’t say what you don’t have to say,’” said a retired general who worked with Milley. “Mark was trying to give an intellectual answer, but it didn’t work because the sound bites were bad.”

In August 2021, failures surrounding the fall of the American-backed government in Afghanistan and the subsequent deadly scramble to evacuate unleashed a torrent of criticism. Milley, who in private had advised Biden not to withdraw all forces as Taliban militants steadily advanced toward the Afghan capital, held his tongue as the president later falsely suggested that no one had encouraged him to maintain a presence of about 2,500 U.S. troops there. A month later, before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Milley declared the collapse a “strategic failure.”

“The enemy is in charge in Kabul,” testified Milley, who had served three tours in Afghanistan. “There’s no other way to describe that.” Milley, asked by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) why he had not resigned after Biden chose not to follow his advice, replied that the United States “doesn’t want generals figuring out what orders we’re going to accept.”

A few months later, as the Kremlin telegraphed its preparations for the invasion of Ukraine, U.S. intelligence officials predicted incorrectly that Kyiv would fall quickly. Since then, Milley has cultivated what observers say is an effective partnership with his Ukrainian counterpart, Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, working adroitly to coordinate and sustain an expansive network of Western assistance that has enabled the outgunned Ukrainian military to inflict staggering losses on the Russians for nearly two years.

Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave a fiery response to criticism from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) of the military's handling of race. (Video: The Washington Post)

“I think he carried the department on Ukraine,” said McKenzie, the retired general. “If there was something close to an irreplaceable person, it’d be Mark Milley on Ukraine.”

The Milley era, observers say, is also unique for his participation in multiple books scrutinizing the Trump presidency, something he has acknowledged under questioning by members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The accounts have cast him as a defender of American democracy in ways that are unhelpful to the nonpartisan nature of his job, critics say.

Kori Schake, an expert on civil-military relations at the American Enterprise Institute, said the general’s collaboration with authors appears to her as “self-aggrandizing.” She said she cringed reading accounts of Milley telling others they needed to safely “land the plane” while Trump worked to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election.

“It is not appropriate for the president’s senior military adviser to stray into what is political territory, and General Milley does that a lot in his time as chairman,” Schake said. “He can’t resist the temptation.”

Another former senior defense official who worked with Milley was even more blunt. “He has a ton of virtues,” this person said, “but his Achilles’ heel will be that at times he spoke too much, too often, and too loudly, with himself usually the hero.”

His defenders say the general’s legacy is one of great consequence, as his tenure has overlapped with so many combustible moments in the nation’s history.

Peter Feaver, a civil-military relations expert at Duke University whom the general has consulted over the years, said that while there is a range of opinions about Milley and his execution of the job, he merits high marks. Yes, Feaver acknowledged, he made some mistakes. But critics have repeatedly exaggerated or miscast his actions, he said.

“Any time someone is painted in too vivid of colors, the chances are that the truth is somewhere in between,” he said. “General Milley had one of the toughest assignments” of “any chairman in modern memory.”

Saturday, September 23, 2023

NYC unveils 420-pound police robot assigned to patrol subway stations

NYC unveils 420-pound police robot assigned to patrol subway stations (Robocop is here.)

“First there was Digidog, now there is K5

New York City unveiled a new robot designed to help the nation's largest police force keep riders safe in the subways. 

Knightscope K5 Security Robot is on lease to the city and will be tasked with patrolling the busiest subway station in the transit system: Times Square Subway Station. 

"$9 an hour… $9 an hour. I know you wanted to write how we're wasting money, but I'm sorry I'm taking your thunder away. We're leasing at $9 an hour," Mayor Eric Adams boasted at the robot's unveiling Friday. 

The shining new camera on wheels is part of a pilot program that will run for two months, the heads of the MTA and NYPD explained Friday. Officers trained on how to use K5 will accompany the robot through the station. The robot will not be on the platforms. 

Even robots get breaks, apparently. Adams says overnight riders can catch a glimpse of K5, who will run between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. 

"It will record video that can be viewed in case of an emergency or a crime. It will not record audio, and it will not use facial recognition. However, the K5 does have a button that connects you immediately to a live person that New Yorkers can utilize 24/7 with questions, concerns or to report an incident if needed," the mayor explained. 

Upon completion of the pilot program, Adams says the robot's effectiveness will be examined and the city will decide its best use. 

Introducing the newest member of the New York Police Department: Knightscope K5 Security Robot

Security cameras already cover the majority of the transit system throughout the boroughs -- so why add another on wheels?

U.S. & World

NYC Transit President said a lot of the station cameras "are hidden or not obvious for criminals. This is a reminder technology is watching folks."

Officials said K5 will not record audio or use facial recognition technology. But police warned anyone who tries to tamper with the 420-pound robot.

"If you come here and damage K5 or commit any crime in the subway system, prepare to be identified and arrested," said Chief of NYPD Transit Michael Kemper. 

Police stats show subway crime this year is down 4.5% compared to 2022 and down 8.1% from 2019. 

"It's fitting that we are near the theater district, because today K5 is taking center stage: welcome to New York City, K5 and welcome to the NYPD," Kemper added.

The two-month trial of robot K5 begins next month.“

Trump Gets LAUGHED OUT OF COURT and Massive Sanctions are INCOMING

The Sun Rises in The East (2023) | Full Movie

Consent to Search & Drug Dogs | "If you don't consent, we'll just get the drug dog"

Gold Bullion and Halal Meat: Inside the Menendez Investigation

Gold Bullion and Halal Meat: Inside the Menendez Investigation

“Federal prosecutors have accused Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey and his wife, Nadine, of accepting bribes in exchange for official actions by Mr. Menendez.

Senator Robert Menendez walks with his wife, Nadine, at a White House reception.
Senator Robert Menendez and his wife, Nadine, were charged in what federal prosecutors describe as a sprawling corruption scheme.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

It was January 2018, and Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey had just won a huge legal victory. His trial on federal bribery charges had ended in a hung jury, and the U.S. Justice Department had announced that it would not seek a new trial. He was free to walk with no criminal conviction, ready to take on another campaign for re-election.

Weeks later, he started dating Nadine Arslanian.

Ms. Arslanian, who would eventually marry Mr. Menendez, quickly introduced him to one of her longtime friends: Wael Hana, an Egyptian American businessman in New Jersey. The future Ms. Menendez was eager to connect her influential new boyfriend with Mr. Hana’s high-level connections in the Egyptian government.

What unfolded in the next four years is what prosecutors described on Friday as a sprawling corruption scheme that would ensnare the halal meat industry, American military aid to Egypt and the appointment of a top New Jersey law enforcement official. Prosecutors accused Mr. Menendez, 69, of abusing his power to influence arms sales to Egypt and to attempt to interfere with criminal investigations into Mr. Hana’s web of business associates.

An F.B.I. search last year of the couple’s New Jersey home revealed some of the fruits of their scheme, prosecutors said. Federal agents found more than $480,000 in cash stuffed throughout the house in envelopes and in the pockets of jackets that were embroidered with the senator’s name. Inside the home were more than $100,000 worth of gold bars, some of which had unique serial numbers that traced back to Mr. Hana. A shiny Mercedes-Benz convertible sat in the garage.

The 39-page indictment — which laid out in painstaking detail a series of deleted text messages, encrypted phone calls and shell company payments — painted a portrait of a couple motivated by relentless greed.

Ms. Menendez, 56, often pestered her associates for more bribe payments, prosecutors said, and did not hesitate to peacock her husband’s influence, once sending a news article to Mr. Hana about $2.5 billion of military sales to Egypt and writing, “Bob had to sign off on this.” The business associates around Mr. Hana seemed to find more and more ways to extract what they needed from Mr. Menendez, as long as they could deliver the cash.

The bribes even included two exercise machines and an air purifier that were delivered to the Menendez home, prosecutors said.

Mr. Menendez maintained his innocence on Friday, accusing the Manhattan federal prosecutors who brought the case of misrepresenting routine congressional work. Lawyers for Ms. Menendez and Mr. Hana, 40, also denied the charges.

When Ms. Menendez started dating Mr. Menendez in early 2018, she was unemployed. But her new relationship offered a solution.

Mr. Hana would agree to put Ms. Menendez on the payroll of his halal meat company if Mr. Menendez could promise to help facilitate more sales of military equipment to Egypt, prosecutors said.

At the time, the issue was a high priority for the Egyptian government because the U.S. State Department had been withholding some military aid until the country could show improvements on human rights. As the ranking member — and soon-to-be chairman — of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Menendez exerted significant influence over how much military aid the United States supplied to Egypt and other countries.

Mr. Menendez shared sensitive information from the State Department about the number and nationalities of people working at the U.S. embassy in Cairo with his girlfriend, who passed it to Mr. Hana, who forwarded it to an Egyptian government official, prosecutors said. Mr. Menendez also agreed to ghostwrite a letter from an Egyptian official who wished to urge the U.S. Senate for more military aid to Egypt.

In July 2018, after meetings between Mr. Menendez and Egyptian officials, he texted Ms. Menendez to tell Mr. Hana that he was going to sign off on a multimillion-dollar weapons sale to Egypt. Ms. Menendez forwarded the text to Mr. Hana, who sent it to two Egyptian officials, one of whom replied with a thumbs up emoji.

Mr. Hana and his business associate, Jose Uribe, then saw another opening to use Mr. Menendez, prosecutors said. They knew that Ms. Menendez had recently gotten into a car accident and needed a car, so they offered to buy the couple a new Mercedes-Benz C-300 convertible, worth more than $60,000.

Justice Department photos of evidence in the case against Mr. Menendez and his wife show gold bars, cash and a Mercedes-Benz convertible.
Among the gifts Mr. Menendez and his wife illegally accepted, prosecutors said, were wads of cash, gold bars and a Mercedes-Benz convertible.Jefferson Siegel for The New York Times

In exchange, they asked Mr. Menendez to interfere in an ongoing prosecution and criminal investigation involving Mr. Uribe’s business associates. Mr. Uribe, 56, who worked in the trucking and insurance industries, had been previously convicted of fraud.

In early 2019, Mr. Menendez contacted a senior prosecutor at the New Jersey attorney general’s office who was supervising the cases and pressured him to resolve them favorably for the defendants, the indictment said. The prosecutor did not agree to intervene, but one of the cases ultimately resulted in a plea deal with no jail time. In the other, no charges were ever brought.

A few days after Mr. Menendez called the prosecutor, Ms. Menendez texted Mr. Hana: “All is GREAT! I’m so excited to get a car next week.”

She met Mr. Uribe in a parking lot of a restaurant, where he gave her about $15,000 in cash, and made the down payment on her new Mercedes the next day. “You are a miracle worker who makes dreams come true I will always remember that,” she texted Mr. Uribe.

But around this time, a problem arose. Mr. Hana’s halal meat company, IS EG Halal Certified Inc., had little to no revenue. Ms. Menendez, who prosecutors said had been given a “low-or-no-show job” there, started to complain to Mr. Hana’s business associates that she wasn’t getting paid. She texted Mr. Menendez about how upset she was about Mr. Hana’s broken promises.

A major break came in the spring of 2019. The Egyptian government gave Mr. Hana’s company a monopoly over certifying American food exports to Egypt as compliant with halal standards, in adherence with Islamic law. Mr. Hana’s company, despite its name, had no experience with halal certification.

A huge financial windfall was coming.

The day after an Egyptian official informed Mr. Hana that his company was most likely going to become the sole halal certifier for U.S. imports, Ms. Menendez texted the senator: “Seems like halal went through. It might be a fantastic 2019 all the way around.” The indictment did not say if Mr. Menendez used his position to influence Egypt’s decision.

Soon afterward, Ms. Menendez created a consulting company, Strategic International Business Consultants LLC, which prosecutors said was used to receive tens of thousands of dollars in bribe payments.

Mr. Hana’s monopoly, however, increased costs for some U.S. meat suppliers, which did not escape the notice of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In the spring of 2019, U.S.D.A. officials asked Egypt to reconsider the monopoly rights for halal certification, which had previously been granted to a handful of companies.

At Mr. Hana’s request, Mr. Menendez called a high-level U.S.D.A. official and asked them to stop opposing the monopoly, prosecutors said. The official did not acquiesce to Mr. Menendez’s demands, but Mr. Hana still kept sole control over the Egyptian certification.

Two months later, prosecutors said, Mr. Hana used his halal company to pay about $23,000 to Ms. Menendez to help her stay current on her mortgage while she was in foreclosure proceedings.

Still, prosecutors suggested, Ms. Menendez felt she deserved more money for all the help that her boyfriend was giving Mr. Hana, especially after the senator had agreed to meet with some senior Egyptian officials. She texted Mr. Menendez: “I am soooooo upset.”

She wanted to complain to one of Mr. Hana’s business associates, but Mr. Menendez warned her: “No, you should not text or email.” She placed a call instead. The next day, Mr. Hana’s halal company wired $10,000 to her consulting firm.

As their scheme expanded, prosecutors said, they deleted more and more texts and emails.

Mr. Menendez and his wife enter the Capitol.
Federal prosecutors said Mr. Menendez’s wife, Nadine, secured a “low-or no-show job” with a firm that had close ties to the Egyptian government.T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

A few months after the couple married in October 2020, Mr. Menendez met with Philip Sellinger, a potential candidate to be nominated for U.S. attorney in New Jersey, the top federal prosecutor in the state.

This time, the indictment said, Mr. Menendez was carrying out his end of another corrupt bargain. In the meeting, Mr. Menendez criticized the ongoing case against Fred Daibes, who was indicted in 2018 by federal prosecutors in New Jersey. He also happened to be a business associate of Mr. Hana and a longtime fund-raiser for Mr. Menendez.

When Mr. Sellinger said that he might have to recuse himself from the investigation anyway because of a prior conflict of interest, Mr. Menendez said he would not be recommending him for U.S. attorney, according to the indictment.

Ultimately, Mr. Menendez did recommend Mr. Sellinger for the nomination, believing that he could influence the investigation if Mr. Sellinger held that post, prosecutors said. The indictment did not say why Mr. Menendez believed that.

In early 2022, Mr. Menendez placed two phone calls to the federal prosecutor overseeing Mr. Daibes’s case. Minutes after the second call, Mr. Menendez called Mr. Daibes directly.

Two months later, Ms. Menendez ate lunch with Mr. Daibes and texted him afterward: “THANK YOU Fred,” with a slew of emojis. The next day, Ms. Menendez met with a jeweler who was friends with Mr. Daibes and sold the jeweler two gold bars that prosecutors believe were previously owned by Mr. Daibes, worth about $120,000 at the time.

The New Jersey U.S. attorney’s office did not bend to the pressure campaign, the indictment said. Mr. Daibes pleaded guilty in April 2022.

But the unraveling for the Menendez couple would soon begin.

In June 2022, federal agents raided their home. Some of the envelopes containing the wads of cash had the fingerprints and D.N.A. of Mr. Daibes and his driver — marked with Mr. Daibes’s return address, prosecutors said.

After the search, Mr. Uribe stopped making the monthly payments on the Mercedes convertible. Mr. Menendez wrote his wife a check for $23,000, part of which she gave to Mr. Uribe with the memo line: “personal loan.” The indictment did not make clear what the purpose of the payment was.

It was too late. On Friday, Mr. Menendez was indicted on three federal charges and temporarily stepped down from his chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The indictment also charged his wife, Mr. Hana, Mr. Uribe and Mr. Daibes.

A lawyer for Mr. Daibes said he was confident his client would be exonerated of the charges. A lawyer for Mr. Uribe could not immediately be identified.

In response to growing calls for his resignation, Mr. Menendez issued a new statement late Friday.

“It is not lost on me how quickly some are rushing to judge a Latino and push him out of his seat,” he said. “I am not going anywhere.”

Tracey Tully contributed reporting.

Nicole Hong is a reporter covering New York City’s economy. She previously worked for The Wall Street Journal, where she was part of a team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in National Reporting. More about Nicole Hong

Does Robert Menendez Have Enough Teflon to Survive Again?

Does Robert Menendez Have Enough Teflon to Survive Again?

“Senator Menendez, who has defeated prosecutors and political challengers, faces his sternest test yet in his federal indictment in Manhattan.

A view of Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey from the rear, as he reads from a prepared statement in addressing reporters at a 2015 news conference.
Senator Robert Menendez, in a 2015, first faced indictment then. The ensuing court case ended in a mistrial. Michael Appleton for The New York Times

In a state long attuned to the drumbeat of political corruption — salacious charges, furious denials, explosive trials — Senator Robert Menendez has often registered as the quintessential New Jersey politician.

He successfully avoided charges in one case, and after federal prosecutors indicted him in another, he got off after a mistrial in 2017. “To those who were digging my political grave,” Mr. Menendez warned then with characteristic bravado, “I know who you are and I won’t forget you.”

Six years later, he is once again on the brink, battling for his political life after federal prosecutors in Manhattan unsealed a jarring new indictment on Friday charging the powerful Democratic senator and his wife in a garish bribery scheme involving a foreign power, piles of cash and gold bars.

A defiant Mr. Menendez, 69, immediately vowed to clear his name from what he cast as just more smears by vengeful prosecutors. A top adviser said that he would also continue running for re-election in 2024, when he is trying to secure a fourth full term.

But as details of the case quickly spread through Trenton and Washington — including images of an allegedly ill-begotten Mercedes-Benz convertible and cash bribes hidden in closets — it was clear Mr. Menendez may be confronting the gravest political challenge in a career that started 49 years ago in the shadow of New York City.

Calls for his resignation mounted from ethics groups, Republicans and even longtime Democratic allies who stood by him last time, including the governor, state party chairman and the leaders of the legislature. And party strategists and elected officials were already openly speculating that one or more of a group of ambitious, young Democrats representing the state in Congress could mount a primary campaign against him.

“The alleged facts are so serious that they compromise the ability of Senator Menendez to effectively represent the people of our state,” said Gov. Philip D. Murphy, a Democrat. “Therefore, I am calling for his immediate resignation.”

Representatives Frank Pallone and Bill Pascrell, two of the state’s longest serving Democrats who have served alongside Mr. Menendez for decades, joined them later. So did Representatives Mikie Sherrill and Andy Kim, two of the younger representatives considered possible primary challengers or replacements should the senator step down.

For now, Mr. Menendez appeared to be on firmer footing among his colleagues in the Senate, including party leaders who could force his hand. They accepted his temporary resignation as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, but did not ask him to leave office.

In a statement, Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, called Mr. Menendez “a dedicated public servant” and said that his colleague had “a right to due process and a fair trial.”

Two senators, wearing dark suits, walk together in the U.S. Capitol, with paintings of historical figures on the walls behind them.
The Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, right, urged against a rash judgment, saying Mr. Menendez had a “right to due process and a fair trial.”Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Calls for his ouster seemed to only embolden Mr. Menendez, who spent part of Friday afternoon trying to rally allies by phone. “It is not lost on me how quickly some are rushing to judge a Latino and push him out of his seat,” he wrote in a fiery retort to Democrats who broke with him. “I am not going anywhere.”

The electoral stakes were high, and not just for Mr. Menendez.

Though he had yet to formally answer the charges in court, some party strategists were already gauging the possibility that Mr. Menendez could be scheduled to stand trial in the middle of the campaign — an unwelcome distraction for Democratic candidates across the nation.

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Republicans were already using the indictment to attack the party. “Democrats covered for Menendez the first time he got indicted for corruption,” said Philip Letsou, a spokesman for the Senate Republican campaign committee. “It would be a shame if they did so again.”

Democrats have not lost a Senate race in New Jersey since the 1970s. But allowing Mr. Menendez to stay in office could at the least force the party to spend heavily to defend the seat at a time when it already faces daunting odds of retaining a razor-thin majority.

“I understand personal loyalty, and I understand the depths of friendships, but somebody needs to take a stand here,” said Robert Torricelli, the former Democratic senator from New Jersey. “This is not about him — it’s about holding the majority.”

Mr. Torricelli speaks from experience. He retired rather than seek re-election in 2002 after his own ethics scandal ended without charges. He was also widely believed to be a target of Mr. Menendez’s ire after the former senator put his hand up to succeed Mr. Menendez had he been convicted in 2017.

“In the history of the United States Congress, it is doubtful there has ever been a corruption allegation of this depth and seriousness,” Mr. Torricelli added. “The degree of the evidence. The gold bars and the hundreds of thousands of dollars of cash. It’s incomprehensible.”

The details laid out in the 39-page indictment were nothing short of tawdry. Prosecutors said that Mr. Menendez had used his position to provide sensitive government information to Egypt, browbeat the Department of Agriculture and tamper with a criminal investigation. In exchange, associates rewarded him with the gold bullion, car and cash, along with home mortgage payments and other benefits, they said.

Prosecutors referred to a text between an Egyptian general and an Egyptian American businessman in which Mr. Menendez was referred to as “our man.” At one point, prosecutors said, the senator searched in a web browser “how much is one kilo of gold worth.”

A top federal prosecutor stands in front of a display showing images of evidence in a case against Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey.
Damien Williams, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, laid out details of a 39-page indictment against Mr. Menendez.Jefferson Siegel for The New York Times

Mr. Menendez is far from the first elected official in New Jersey to face serious criminal allegations. With a long tradition of one-party rule, a bare-knuckle political culture and an unusual patchwork of governmental fiefs, the state has been a hotbed for corruption that has felled city councilors, mayors, state legislators and members of Congress.

The Washington Post tried to quantify the criminality in 2015 and found that New Jersey’s rate of crime per politician easily led any other state. 

Mr. Menendez already has a Democratic primary opponent, Kyle Jasey, a real estate lender and first-time candidate who called the indictment an “embarrassment for our state.” But political strategists and elected Democrats said Mr. Jasey may not have the lane to himself for long.

New Jersey has a glut of ambitious Democratic members of Congress with outsize national profiles; it took barely minutes on Friday for the state’s political class to begin speculating about who might step forward.

Among the most prominent were Ms. Sherrill, 51, and Josh Gottheimer, 48, moderates known for their fund-raising prowess who have proven they can win difficult suburban districts and were already said to be looking at statewide campaigns for governor in 2025, when Mr. Murphy cannot run because of term limits. Other names included Mr. Kim and Tom Malinowski, a two-term congressman who lost his seat last year.

National Republicans cast their focus on Christine Serrano Glassner, the two-term mayor of a small community roughly 25 miles west of Newark, N.J., who announced this week she would run.

Mr. Menendez, the son of Cuban immigrants, was elected to his first local office at age 20. At 28, he donned a bulletproof vest as he testified in a corruption trial against his former mentor. He won the mayoralty of Union City, before moving onto the State Assembly, the Senate, the House of Representatives and, in 2006, an appointment to the Senate.

It was only a matter of months before he was in the sights of the U.S. attorney’s office of New Jersey. The senator was never charged, but the investigation became campaign fodder after the U.S. attorney, then Chris Christie, issued a subpoena to a community agency that paid rent to Mr. Menendez while getting lucrative federal grants.

Almost a decade later, federal prosecutors went further, making Mr. Menendez the first sitting senator in a generation to face federal bribery charges in 2015. They accused him of exchanging political favors with a wealthy Florida eye surgeon for luxury vacations, expensive flights and campaign donations.

A jury heard the case two years later and could not reach a verdict; the Justice Department later dropped the prosecution, but the bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee “severely admonished” him for accepting gifts while promoting the surgeon’s interests.

Even so, Mr. Menendez handily won his party’s nomination and re-election in 2018.

To longtime analysts of the state politics, though, Friday’s case crossed a new threshold.

“Even by New Jersey standards, this one stands out — how graphic it is, how raw it is,” said Micah Rasmussen, a seasoned Democratic political hand who now leads Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University.

“There is a world of difference between not reporting a plane ride and having half a million in hundreds stashed around your house,” Mr. Rasmussen added. “By all rights, this should be the end of the line.”

Tracey Tully contributed reporting.

Nicholas Fandos is a reporter on the Metro desk covering New York State politics, with a focus on money, lobbying and political influence. He was previously a congressional correspondent in Washington. More about Nicholas Fandos