The New York Times published a hit piece on popular Trump-supporter Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) saying the Florida Congressman was under investigation for dating a 17-year-old girl.
Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida and a close ally of former President Donald J. Trump, is being investigated by the Justice Department over whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him, according to three people briefed on the matter.
Investigators are examining whether Mr. Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws, the people said. A variety of federal statutes make it illegal to induce someone under 18 to travel over state lines to engage in sex in exchange for money or something of value. The Justice Department regularly prosecutes such cases, and offenders often receive severe sentences.
It was not clear how Mr. Gaetz met the girl, believed to be 17 at the time of encounters about two years ago that investigators are scrutinizing, according to two of the people.
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The investigation was opened in the final months of the Trump administration under Attorney General William P. Barr, the two people said. Given Mr. Gaetz’s national profile, senior Justice Department officials in Washington — including some appointed by Mr. Trump — were notified of the investigation, the people said.
The Gateway Pundit spoke with a source close to Matt Gaetz who told us this report is completely false. Gaetz is not the target of the investigation. We were also told none of the women he was seeing were underage.
It’s not a surprise the left is after Gaetz since he is such an effective communicator and staunch Trump supporter.
What he’s saying: “The allegations against me are as searing as they are false,” Gaetz said in a 13-minute phone interview with Axios. “I believe that there are people at the Department of Justice who are trying to criminalize my sexual conduct, you know when I was a single guy.”
- Axios reported earlier Tuesday that Gaetz has privately told confidants he’s seriously considering not seeking re-election, and possibly leaving Congress early for a job at Newsmax.
The big picture: Gaetz, 38, said the specifics of the allegations are “unclear,” and he said he’s been told “very little.” But the New York Times reported late Tuesday afternoon that the Justice Department is investigating Gaetz “over whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him.”
- “The allegations of sexual misconduct against me are false,” Gaetz told Axios. “They are rooted in an extortion effort against my family for $25 million … in exchange for making this case go away.”
- Gaetz sent Axios screenshots of text messages, emails and documents outlining the alleged extortion scheme, which he claimed was being run by a former DOJ employee. The Justice Department declined to comment.
Sounding shaken, Gaetz said that for weeks, he and his father been working with the FBI in the Northern District of Florida on the extortion case. Gaetz said his lawyers were informed by the Justice Department that “I was not a target but a subject of an investigation regarding sexual conduct with women.”
UPDATE: Rep. Gaetz’s office sent this to The Gateway Pundit this evening.
“Over the past several weeks my family and I have been victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name. We have been cooperating with federal authorities in this matter and my father has even been wearing a wire at the FBI’s direction to catch these criminals. The planted leak to the New York Times tonight was intended to thwart that investigation. No part of the allegations against me are true, and the people pushing these lies are targets of the ongoing extortion investigation. I demand the DOJ immediately release the tapes, made at their direction, which implicate their former colleague in crimes against me based on false allegations.” -Rep. Matt Gaetz