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Kelly File

Report: DOJ preparing criminal charges against Sen. Menendez

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," March 6, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ, D-N.J.: Let me be very clear, very clear. I have always conducted myself appropriately and in accordance with the law.

I fight for these issues and for the people of our country every single day. That's who I am. And I am not going anywhere.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MEGYN KELLY, HOST: Breaking tonight, a U.S. senator is reportedly about to be indicted. Reports today that Eric Holder's Justice Department is preparing to bring serious criminal charges against Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey. The reports of potential charges had many noting the senator's recent set of very public foreign policy knocks on President Obama with some media outlets questioning if the latest move from the DOJ is political retribution.

Joining us now Chris Stirewalt, Fox News' digital politics editor.  All right. Chris, he's -- this investigation's been going on for some time. And it focuses on his relationship with some shady ophthalmologist.  

CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS DIGITAL POLITICS EDITOR: Well, when you put it like that, it doesn't sound very good.

(CROSSTALK)

Yes, I know. I see what you did there.

STIREWALT: The underlying scandal or the underlying controversy involves a long-time friend and big-time donor of his who was at one time the largest single biller to Medicaid in the nation -- to Medicare in the nation. Some $22 million I believe in 2012. And a guy who was putting it through big time on these eye surgery outpatient centers down in Florida.  And he was a super patron of Menendez's. And last year we were watching this very closely waiting to see what was going to happen. And then nothing. Nothing happened. And so in large part we assumed that they had not been able to make the case and moved on. Low and behold we see the report today, first at CNN and then elsewhere that the Justice Department was getting ready to drop this on him. And he as much as confirmed it by going out and giving that very, very terse and very angry statement today.   

KELLY: Defiant.  

STIREWALT: Yes. Quite so. And so you get the sense that at the very least this is getting closer to conclusion. And it's coming at a very importune time for the Obama administration, or maybe very opportune, I don't know depending on how you look at it. Menendez has been the chief Democratic hector of the president on Israel, on Iran.  

KELLY: He's the one who said that the president's Iran policy sounded like the talking points straight from the ayatollah or something very -- he said something very incendiary like that.  

STIREWALT: Yes. And he has been right after the President on Cuba and right after the president on Israel and on and on because he is a Clinton Democrat. He was Hillary Clinton's co-chairman in 2008 and early Senate endorser, a long-time ally of her and her husband's. And he is hawkish, much more hawkish on foreign policy than President Obama.  

KELLY: But wait. But reportedly the statute of limitations is about to expire on these charges.  

STIREWALT: Yes.  

KELLY: So, they may have to bring them. May have nothing to do with Iran policy. And in their defense they started the investigation of him a couple years ago before he was bashing them certainly on Cuba, maybe not so much Iran.  

STIREWALT: Oh, yes. I'm not saying that this was ordered from the Oval Office in retribution for Menendez's opposition of the president's foreign policy. I'm just saying the timing is lousy.   

KELLY: Last question. Last question.

STIREWALT: Yes, Megyn.

KELLY: If you indict him, can he still sit as a U.S. senator?

STIREWALT: Yes, you can sit as a U.S. senator and do many heinous things.  

KELLY: It's happening right now.

STIREWALT: Probably, in this town. But the reality is the pressure on Harry Reid to dump him as the ranking member on Armed Services Committee or Foreign Relations Committee will be intense. And I don't think Harry Reid can weather it.  

KELLY: And if he goes then Chris Christie's got an appointment problem. And he comes in as well. It's very interesting.  

STIREWALT: Very interesting.  

KELLY: Chris, good to see you.  

STIREWALT: You too.

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