The New Jersey Senator has been formally charged
New Democratic Bill Seeks to Limit Trump and Menendez's Access to Classified Information AFP

A bill introduced on Thursday by a House Democrat aims to prevent federal officials, candidates, and staff who face certain criminal charges from accessing classified information.

This legislation targets, without explicitly naming them, former President Donald Trump and New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, who are currently entangled in legal proceedings.

Representative Mikie Sherrill, a Democrat from New Jersey, is set to unveil the full content of the bill, titled the Guarding the United States Against Reckless Disclosures Act or GUARD Act for short, on Friday.

The legislation would apply to any federal official or candidate charged with compromising U.S. national security, acting as a foreign agent, obstructing an official proceeding, or unlawfully retaining classified national defense information, according to a copy shared by Sherrill.

Senator Bob Menendez, also a Democrat from New Jersey, has been charged with 18 federal counts, including accusations that he took bribes in exchange for political favors, and conspiring with foreign governments, among others.

Following these formal accusations, Menendez announced Friday that he won't run for reelection in the Democratic primary.

The decision comes after numerous calls for resignation from fellow Democrats, including several lawmakers and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. While Menendez relinquished his position as chair of the Foreign Relations committee, he has steadfastly refused to vacate his seat.

Former President Donald Trump
"Former President Donald Trump is indicted on 91 criminal charges." AFP

"As a Navy veteran and former prosecutor, I have zero tolerance for any betrayal of the public trust, especially when it comes to classified information and our national security," Sherrill said

In her statement, the representative didn't mention Menendez, but she did target Trump. "I'm extremely concerned about recent charges against Donald Trump and his continued desire to access sensitive classified information, despite reckless actions, and serious criminal charges."

"Nobody is entitled or legally obligated to classified briefings – certainly not Trump, even if he is the Republican nominee for president. This legislation is urgent and should be considered by both parties as a necessary step to protect intelligence and ensure sensitive information doesn't get into the wrong hands," she added.

According to Sherril, "former President Donald Trump is indicted on 91 criminal charges, including 2 felony counts of obstructing an official proceeding for the violent January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol and 32 felony counts of unlawful retention of national defense information for storing classified documents in his Mar-a-lago home."

"Trump is also reported to have shared classified information about U.S. nuclear submarines with a foreign billionaire and member of Mar-a-Lago. While in office, Trump disclosed sensitive Israeli intelligence information to the Russians, and classified information about the locations of nuclear submarines to the Philippines."

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