- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 31, 2017

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, said Thursday that Democrats who are looking to oppose Mr. Trump’s anticipated tax plan better count out Sen. Bob Menedez.

“New Jersey’s Sen. Bob Menendez is a little busy these days. He’s in a federal courthouse because he’s a criminal defendant in a federal trial and people should really go and look at the prosecutor’s case laid out this week,” Mrs. Conway said on Fox News.

Mr. Menendez, New Jersey Democrat, is facing corruption charges including accepting lavish gifts and campaign donations in exchange for political favors. The prosecutor’s brief was laid out Wednesday about a week prior to the trial’s set start date. Mr. Menendez’s defense has said the case is purely political.

But with thinly drawn partisan lines in the Senate, Mr. Menendez’s vote could be crucial for Democrats, especially if his absence means Republican Gov. Chris Christie gets to appoint a successor before he leaves office in November. This could happen if Mr. Menendez is convicted and the Senate expels him, or if he accepts a deal and steps down from office. Some have even said that Mr. Christie may appoint himself to the seat.

Mrs. Conway did say that the White House remains committed to working with both sides of the aisle on tax reform.

“We’re going for as many who will come aboard, and we expect that will include a couple of Democrats as well,” she said. “These Republican and Democratic senators and members of Congress are accountable for their constituents.”

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