Egypt

Staffers Complained Over ‘Weird’ Situation

Things got really “weird,” a senate staffer to “Gold Bar Bob” Menendez testified, when they were setting up a 2021 trip to Egypt for him. The Egyptian embassy had to be in the loop through the whole process. Menendez is currently on trial for bribery. He got his nickname over it because the Democrat Senator from New Jersey is accused of taking “hundreds of thousands of dollars in gold and cash” in return for “benefits he supposedly delivered to three New Jersey businessmen from 2018 to 2022.” Sarah Arkin told everything she knows.

Trip to Egypt and Qatar

On Monday, June 24, Sarah Arkin, a senior staffer with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, described some unusual things about a 2021 trip to Egypt and Qatar. She couldn’t wait to take the stand and testify against Senator Bob Menendez.

That matters to the court because one of the favors he allegedly peddled was “improperly pressuring a Department of Agriculture official to protect a lucrative halal certification monopoly the Egyptian government had awarded to one businessman.

Another thing prosecutors charged him with is aiding “a prominent New Jersey real estate developer by acting favorably to Qatar’s government so the businessman could score a lucrative deal with a Qatari investment fund.

Along with an assortment of charges for bribery, fraud, extortion and obstruction of justice, the senator “is also charged with acting as a foreign agent of Egypt.” That’s a big deal. Even Hunter Biden is nervous about charges for not registering properly as a foreign agent.

The lengthy trial is now in it’s seventh week. Menendez and two businessmen listed as his co-conspirators all pleaded not guilty.

At the time of his indictment, Menendez “held the powerful post of chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a position he relinquished soon afterward.” That little jaunt to Egypt is something the court is really interested in.

The Egyptian embassy had to be in the loop through the whole process.

Unusual planning from the start

As Arkin explained from the witness stand, “Menendez had asked Senate staff to reach out to an individual at the Egyptian embassy who they didn’t know as they planned the weeklong trip.” Both Egypt and Qatar seem to have benefited from the venture.

Arkin followed orders and made the arrangements, “even though such excursions were usually planned through the State Department and U.S. authorities.

It’s normal to notify foreign embassies of a senator’s travel to their country, as a basic courtesy. What was strange about this trip was the way the embassy in Egypt helped plan the itinerary. Things took a sudden turn into spookiness when Arkin learned someone had been telling lies about her.

She heard through the office grapevine that “Menendez was ‘very upset‘ after he’d been notified that two Egyptians, including Egypt’s ambassador, had complained that she notified Egyptian officials that Menendez would not meet with Egypt’s president during the trip ‘under any circumstances.

That, she testified and also claims she told Menendez, was “absolutely not true.” Not only that, the phrase “under any circumstances” simply isn’t in her vocabulary. That’s such a blatantly undiplomatic thing to say that she would have to be out of her mind on something to utter the words.

One of her co-workers wrote an email to her also noting that “all of this Egypt stuff is very weird.” It was weird, Arkin verifies. Another unusual aspect was the involvement from the senator’s wife. Nadine Menendez, was “trying to be involved in the planning” and had “lots of opinions” about “what she wanted to do during the trip.

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