To the extent that Rep. Henry Cuellar is known to national audiences, the Texas Democrat is probably known for being a frequent thorn in his party's side.
In the first year of Donald Trump's presidency, for example, Cuellar voted with the Republican White House's position nearly 70 percent of the time — making the Texan one of the most Trump-friendly Democrats in Congress.
By 2020, much of the left, eager to see the congressman replaced, rallied behind Jessica Cisneros' primary campaign against Cuellar, which nearly worked: The incumbent prevailed by only three points, in one of the year's most competitive intra-party contests.
Now, however, it appears Cuellar might be known for something entirely different. The Texas Tribune reported overnight:
The FBI was on the scene Wednesday near the Laredo home of U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar for what authorities described as a court-authorized ongoing investigation. FBI spokesperson Rosanne Hughes ... said in a statement that the FBI was present on two streets around Cuellar's house in Laredo "conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity."
The local reporting added that agents were seen "taking cases and other items from the congressman's home," and the FBI was also present "at a downtown building owned by Cuellar that reportedly houses his campaign office as well as other private businesses."
At this point, I haven't seen any reporting that the congressman is facing any charges, but I think it's also fair to say that when the FBI shows up at a politician's house to conduct a "court-authorized law enforcement activity," it's not a good sign.
As the developments started to unfold yesterday afternoon, Cuellar said in a written statement that he will "fully cooperate in any investigation," adding that he's "committed to ensuring that justice and the law are upheld."
Time will tell what, if anything, comes of this story, but let's note for context that over the last five years, only three sitting members of Congress faced federal criminal charges: In August 2018, Republican Rep. Chris Collins of New York was arrested for alleged insider trading, and soon after, Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter of California was accused by federal prosecutors of having stolen more than a quarter million dollars from his campaign coffers.
Both initially claimed they were victims of political persecution; both later resigned in disgrace; both were sentenced to prison; and both received pardons from Donald Trump.
This year, Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska is also facing felony charges, though yesterday's events in Texas suggest he may yet have some company.
Postscript: In advance of the 2018 midterms, Donald Trump complained bitterly about federal law enforcement charging two of his congressional allies, and whined about the Justice Department undermining the then-president's election plans.
I have a hunch President Joe Biden, in contrast, will take a hands-off approach to the Cuellar matter.