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In an awkward political maneuver, Trump joins California Democrat in defense of Texas Dem. Rep. Cuellar

As the presidential campaigns heat up, the political landscape is changing as both parties become more aggressive in their attacks against their opponents. Recently, these attacks have become almost a regular thing between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, the likely candidates expected to face each other in the November general election. But as we approach the November general election, it is easy to assume that the public will witness such attacks on a daily basis among lawmakers from both parties.

When both parties collaborate

On a very rare occasion on Wednesday, both Democratic and Republican representatives in the House of Representatives decided to throw away the motion to oust GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson filed by Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Wednesday’s collaboration between the parties is not something that happens often, especially not in an election year. However, Democrats and Republicans seem to know how to work together when they see interest. And Trump’s recent comments posted online have proved just that.

Texas Democrat accused of bribery

In a federal indictment made public in the Southern District of Texas on Friday, Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, and his wife, Imelda Cuellar, were accused of accepting roughly $600,000 from Azerbaijan’s state-owned oil firm and a Mexican bank. The Justice Department claims this was in exchange for official actions in Congress through bribery, illegal foreign influence, and money laundering. According to the U.S. Justice Department, Rep. Cuellar allegedly received $238,000 in bribes from an Azerbaijani oil and gas company and Mexico’s Banco Azteca.

These payments were supposedly funneled through false consulting contracts and shell companies owned by Imelda Cuellar to shape U.S. foreign policy in favor of Azerbaijan and to influence high-level government officials for Banco Azteca’s benefit. The alleged schemes, dating from December 2014 to November 2021, involved front companies and intermediaries to disguise the money flow. An anonymous U.S. official, as cited by The Wall Street Journal, linked Banco Azteca to the bribery plot.

Read also: Texas Rep. Chip Roy warns of a ‘massive Muslim takeover’ and fears for the country’s future: “Coming to America”

Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar defends Rep. Cuellar

Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar, a California Democrat, noted Cuellar’s solid reputation and praised his bipartisan connections, stating that the charges against Cuellar are “very serious” but distinct from those involving former Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., and Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J. When asked during a Tuesday press conference why he and other Democrats hadn’t called for Cuellar to resign or be expelled as they had with Santos, Aguilar cited Cuellar’s strong standing among colleagues. Santos was expelled after only a year in office following a damning ethics report detailing fraud, identity theft, and other offenses.

Trump largely echoed Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar's remarks about the Texas Rep. accused of bribery which came at a huge surprise
Donald Trump, Credit: Deposit Photos

Trump defends Rep. Cuellar too

In a surprising twist, former President Trump also came to Rep. Cuellar’s defense. Trump largely echoed Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar’s remarks about the Texas congressman, but took it further. The likely Republican presidential nominee accused President Biden of leveraging the Justice Department to punish Cuellar for advocating stricter border security measures, which is outside of the party lines.

“Biden just Indicted Henry Cuellar because the Respected Democrat Congressman wouldn’t play Crooked Joe’s Open Border game,” Trump claimed Sunday. “He was for Border Control, so they said, ‘Let’s use the FBI and DOJ to take him out!’ This is the way they operate. They’re a bunch of D.C. Thugs, and at some point they will be paying a very big price for what they have done to our Country.”

“CROOKED JOE BIDEN IS A THREAT TO DEMOCRACY!” Trump added.

Democrats rush to defend Cuellar

Aguilar slammed the “silliness of George Santos” when further pressed by reporters about the difference in Democratic response to Cuellar’s indictment.

Read also: Trump unexpectedly faces a nightmare in the name of former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley

“He’s entitled to that presumption of innocence, as any American would. I have not talked with Representative Cuellar since the indictment came out,” Aguilar said. “But that said, you know, I will say that Representative Cuellar has been for decades, he’s been a legislator. He’s been a statewide officeholder in Texas. He has deep relationships with Republican colleagues and Democratic colleagues on both sides of the aisle. We know that he is a serious, you know, public official and public servant. And I think that’s what sets this apart from other issues and the silliness of George Santos that we had in the past. And I think that’s why many of us are treating this a little different. The substance of the allegations is very different, but the individuals are also night and day.”

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