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GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida is the subject of a DOJ inquiry. He is also a member of the House Subcommittee that oversees the Justice Department. Nonetheless, he remains a member, according to the AP, on April 1, 2021.
He is under investigation for a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paying her to travel with him across state lines — sex trafficking of a minor is a federal crime. The FBI is also looking into whether the 38-year-old Republican has had other relationships with other underage girls.
While the public first learned of the probe, the DOJ has conducted their inquiry for several months, reports NBC.
Gaetz adamantly denies the allegations, claiming he knows the age of every woman he has dated. Moreover, he contends the inquiry is a conspiracy against him.
Ex-DOJ Official Conspires to Extort Gaetz Family
In a statement released on Tuesday, March 30, he said, “an ex-DOJ official and others have organized in an attempt to extort his family for $25 million,” writes Ryan Bort for Rolling Stone.
Furthermore, he says the extortionists have threatened him with smearing his name if he does not pay them.
Gaetz also states his family reported the threats to the FBI and is cooperating with the agency. Reportedly his father, Donald — a former Florida State Senator, wore a wire at the FBI’s behest. The younger Gaetz has requested the tapes be released.
In another unproven claim, he asserts the FBI leaked the story into his possible relationship with a 17-year-old to thwart the extortion investigation — somehow.
According to Gaetz, the investigators are attempting to characterize the generosity he offered his ex-girlfriends into something inappropriate. They “are trying to criminalize my sexual conduct, you know, when I was a single guy,” he contends.
During an interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News, he attempted to clarify the situation. However, once their conversation was over, not only was Carlson confused, but other news agencies and commentators agreed — Gaetz was not successful in proving his innocence.
The New York Times report said Gaetz’s inquiry is part of a larger investigation involving Joel Greenberg. He is a tax contractor in Florida who was charged in 2020 with 14 felony counts related to allegations of stalking a political opponent, using a state database to create fake identifications, and sex trafficking of a minor between ages 14-17. According to Gaetz, his lawyers told him he is not a suspect but a person of interest in this case.
Calls for Gaetz to Step Down from House Judiciary Committee
Reportedly, the accused is aware the government has been investigating him for several months, yet he remains an active member of both the House Armed Services and Judiciary Committees.
On Wednesday, March 31, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) indicated Gaetz would be removed from his position if the allegations are confirmed. He told Fox News, the probe has serious implications.
California Democrat Rep. Ted Lieu offered his opinion via Twitter. He said that if the allegations are true, his colleague from Florida should resign and be prosecuted.
In the meantime, “You can’t have Gaetz sitting on the Congressional Committee that has oversight over the Department that is investigating him.”
Other Democrats have called for the Florida Congressman to do the right thing and step down from his committee assignments.
QAnon and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Support Gaetz
The QAnon community is outraged over the inquiry. This is illogical as the conspiracy that launched the cult is predicated on the idea the United States government is run by an organized group of sex-trafficking pedophiles.
Reportedly they appear to be glossing over the charges against the Congressman; ignoring the allegations that he, himself is part of the cabal they are supposedly determined to expose. Instead, they are clinging to the heady claim that the investigation is part of a dark web plot against allies of former President Donald Trump.
Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene offered her colleague support in her unique and typical deflection. She tweeted:
Remember all conspiracy theories and lies like Trump/Russia collusion and propaganda that the media has spread around. Take it from me rumors and headlines don’t equal truth. I stand with @mattgaetz.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
The New York Times: Matt Gaetz Is Said to Face Justice Dept. Inquiry Over Sex With an Underage Girl; by Michael S. Schmidt, Katie Benner, and Nicholas Fandos
The Washington Post: Tucker Carlson denies Gaetz claim that he met witness in FBI probes: ‘One of the weirdest interviews I’ve ever conducted;’ by Teo Armus
Insider: The DOJ is reportedly investigating whether Rep. Matt Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and violated sex-trafficking laws; by Sonam Sheth
Rolling Stone: QAnon Community Outraged by Matt Gaetz Sex Trafficking Investigation … Except for the Wrong Reason; by Ryan Bort
NBC WFLA8: Matt Gaetz staying on Judiciary panel, despite investigation
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License