Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid was interviewed by the FBI in the spring of 2014 as part of the criminal investigation of Sen. Robert Menendez, a source familiar with the investigation told NBC News.
According to the source, the Department of Justice contacted Reid about a year ago and made him aware of the investigation into Menendez's interactions with Salomon Melgen, a friend and donor to the New Jersey Democrat. Reid spoke for an hour with investigators who questioned him about an August 2012 meeting between Reid, Menendez, and then Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over a Medicare billing dispute between Melgen’s company and the government.
The FBI did not contact Reid again about the investigation and he did not appear before a grand jury. There is no indication Reid acted improperly or that he was ever a target in the investigation.
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Recent reports suggest that Sen Menendez could be indicted in the coming weeks on charges related to using his political office to assist Melgen's business interests while at the same time accepting gifts and political donations. Menendez has denied any wrongdoing, telling reporters during a Friday night press availability, "I have always conducted myself appropriately and in accordance with the law."
"As to Dr. Melgen, everyone knows he and his family, and me and my family, have been real friends for more than two decades," Menendez said, "We celebrate holidays together, have been there for family weddings and funerals, and have given each other birthday, holiday and wedding presents — just as friends do."
The 2012 meeting between Reid, Menendez and Sebelius was arranged while Reid was Majority Leader at Menendez's request. According to the source, while Reid was present for the meeting, he did not advocate either way.
If Menendez is charged in the coming weeks, Reid and the rest of the Democratic caucus will have to decide if the New Jersey Democrat can keep his post as Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Menendez has been a key voice on the Iran nuclear deal and the relaxing of U.S.-Cuba relations.
But while the Senate Republican Conference has an established rule that requires an indicted Senator step down from committee and party leadership posts while a case is ongoing, the Democratic caucus has no such rule.
Asked Monday if he would step down voluntarily from the Committee post if charges were to be filed, Menendez was defiant.
"You know what, I haven't been charged of anything," Menendez told reporters, "So you guys are way ahead, I hope you're right at the end for your purposes."