Menendez to regain spot as top Foreign Relations Dem
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSchumer: Obama 'very amenable' to helping Senate Dems in midterms The Hill's Morning Report: Can Trump close the deal with North Korea? Senate must save itself by confirming Mike Pompeo MORE (N.J.) is regaining his spot as the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee following the Justice Department’s decision to drop all charges against him.

The change was announced on Tuesday in a joint statement from Menendez, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care — Presented by the Association of American Medical Colleges — Trump officials move to expand non-ObamaCare health plans | 'Zero tolerance' policy stirs fears in health community | New ObamaCare repeal plan Selling government assets would be a responsible move in infrastructure deal Ignore the naysayers trying to disrupt US diplomacy with North Korea MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinCommunity development impact remains clear with NMTC post-tax reform Dem sen: ‘Difficult to understand’ Trump’s treatment of allies Dem sen: No military option in North Korea ‘without extreme risks’ MORE (D-Md.), who has served as ranking member for nearly three years. 

Schumer's office says the decision was ratified by the entire Democratic caucus. 


I am honored to resume my position as ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” Menendez said in a statement. “At a time of immense global challenges, I will make certain the committee holds President TrumpDonald John TrumpConservatives express concern over House GOP immigration bill Poll: McSally holds 14-point lead in Arizona GOP Senate primary Trump defends Nielsen amid criticism over family separations MORE and his administration accountable for its capricious and erratic approach to foreign policy.”

Menendez was widely expected to regain the panel's top Democratic spot after the Justice Department ended its years-long investigation and court case. 

Though the Justice Department dropped its charges, the Senate Ethics Committee announced late last year that it was restarting its investigation into the New Jersey Democrat. 

Tuesday’s move puts him in line to become the Foreign Relations Committee chairman if Democrats win back the chamber in November and Menendez — who is up for reelection — keeps his seat. 

It will also give him a perch to take on the Trump administration, which has sparked criticism both on Capitol Hill and internationally for its isolationist foreign policy. 

Menendez stepped down in April 2015 following public corruption charges from the Justice Department, though he remained a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. 

Cardin, who has held the ranking member position since April 2015, is similarly expected to remain a member of the committee.