Dean Phillips becomes first Democrat to call for Cuellar to resign

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Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) became the first Democrat to call for Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) to resign in light of the Justice Department (DOJ) indictment he and his wife were hit with on Friday. 

“While the bar for Federal indictment is high, trust in our government is low,” Phillips said in a post on the social media platform X. “That’s why office holders and candidates under indictment should resign or end their campaigns, including Sen. Bob Menendez, Donald Trump, & Rep. Henry Cuellar.” 

Cuellar and his wife were indicted with charges for allegedly getting almost $600,000 in bribes and laundering funds. In the 14-count indictment, the DOJ outlined Cuellar allegedly receiving payments from an Azerbaijani government-owned oil company and a Mexican bank. Both Cuellar and his wife Imelda pleaded not guilty and were released on a $100,000 bond.

“In exchange for the bribes paid by the Azerbaijani oil and gas company, Congressman Cuellar allegedly agreed to use his office to influence U.S. foreign policy in favor of Azerbaijan,” the DOJ said in a press release. 

“In exchange for the bribes paid by the Mexican bank, Congressman Cuellar allegedly agreed to influence legislative activity and to advise and pressure high-ranking U.S. Executive Branch officials regarding measures beneficial to the bank.”

Cuellar is the second member of Congress to be under indictment, next to Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.). The New Jersey senator’s indictment from the DOJ on bribery charges came last year. The New Jersey senator has been called to resign by more than a dozen Democrats in the upper chamber. 

Cuellar argued he and his wife did nothing wrong. 

“Before I took any action, I proactively sought legal advice from the House Ethics Committee, who gave me more than one written opinion, along with an additional opinion from a national law firm,” Cuellar said in a statement issued before the charges were unsealed. 

“The actions I took in Congress were consistent with the actions of many of my colleagues and in the interest of the American people.”

The Texas lawmaker said he will run for reelection in November.

The Hill has reached out to Cuellar’s office for comment.

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