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

Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezDems urge tech companies to remove 3D-gun blueprints Dem senators introduce resolution calling on Trump to stop attacking the press Booming economy has Trump taking a well-deserved victory lap 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 SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinOvernight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Bipartisan group wants to lift Medicaid restriction on substance abuse treatment More Dems come out in public opposition to Kavanaugh 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 TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser 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.