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US Rep. Cuellar: ‘No wrongdoing on my part’ after FBI search

January 26, 2022 GMT
FILE - U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, speaks during a press conference at the southern border at the Humanitarian Respite Center on Friday, July 19, 2019 in McAllen, Texas. FBI agents searched near the Texas home of Cuellar on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, as they conducted what an agency spokeswoman called “court-authorized law enforcement activity.”  The motive and scope of the search was not immediately known.  (Delcia Lopez/The Monitor via AP, File)
FILE - U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, speaks during a press conference at the southern border at the Humanitarian Respite Center on Friday, July 19, 2019 in McAllen, Texas. FBI agents searched near the Texas home of Cuellar on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, as they conducted what an agency spokeswoman called “court-authorized law enforcement activity.”  The motive and scope of the search was not immediately known.  (Delcia Lopez/The Monitor via AP, File)
FILE - U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, speaks during a press conference at the southern border at the Humanitarian Respite Center on Friday, July 19, 2019 in McAllen, Texas. FBI agents searched near the Texas home of Cuellar on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, as they conducted what an agency spokeswoman called “court-authorized law enforcement activity.”  The motive and scope of the search was not immediately known.  (Delcia Lopez/The Monitor via AP, File)
FILE - U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, speaks during a press conference at the southern border at the Humanitarian Respite Center on Friday, July 19, 2019 in McAllen, Texas. FBI agents searched near the Texas home of Cuellar on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, as they conducted what an agency spokeswoman called “court-authorized law enforcement activity.” The motive and scope of the search was not immediately known. (Delcia Lopez/The Monitor via AP, File)
FILE - U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, speaks during a press conference at the southern border at the Humanitarian Respite Center on Friday, July 19, 2019 in McAllen, Texas. FBI agents searched near the Texas home of Cuellar on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, as they conducted what an agency spokeswoman called “court-authorized law enforcement activity.” The motive and scope of the search was not immediately known. (Delcia Lopez/The Monitor via AP, File)

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar posted a video Tuesday saying he took part in “no wrongdoing” after FBI agents last week conducted a search at the Texas Democrat’s home, which was part of an investigation that relates to the former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan, The Associated Press has learned.

The FBI has served a raft of subpoenas in Washington, D.C. and in Texas and has also conducted interviews as part of the investigation, according to a person with direct knowledge of the probe who was not authorized to discuss it publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. ABC News first reported that the investigation related to Azerbaijan.

Cuellar, who hasn’t been charged with a crime, said in the video posted by his campaign that he was fully cooperating with law enforcement but provided no details about the investigation.

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Federal disclosures show that the nine-term congressman travelled to Azerbaijan 2013. Two years later, Cuellar’s office announced an agreement between a Texas university and an organization called the Assembly of Friends of Azerbaijan for the purposes of collaborating on oil and gas research and education.

The video was Cuellar’s first on-camera comments since since agents were photographed near his home in Laredo on Jan. 19.

“There is an ongoing investigation that will show that there was no wrongdoing on my part,” Cuellar said. “As an attorney, I know first hand that the legal system is a pillar of our democracy.”

He went on to remind voters that he was still running for reelection in his border district ahead of a rematch in Texas’ March 1 primary elections against Jessica Cisneros, a onetime intern in Cuellar’s office who came within 4 points of beating him in 2020.

Cuellar serves on the powerful House Appropriations Committee and was outspoken in blaming national Democrats’ move to the left during the 2020 campaign on issues like health care and the environment as contributing to some disappointing losses in the House.

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Tucker reported from Washington.