Rep Matt Gaetz allegedly asked President Donald Trump for pre-emptive pardons for himself and his congressional allies for any crimes they may have committed, just months before he was revealed to be under federal investigation for sex trafficking.
Two sources with knowledge of the situation told the New York Times that Gaetz, one of Trump’s fiercest defenders, approached the president with the extraordinary request in his final weeks in office.
It came as investigators with the Department of Justice began questioning Gaetz’ associates about allegations against him, including that he’d had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, according to the newspaper.
The Times noted that it is unclear whether Gaetz or the White House knew about the DOJ investigation at the time that he approached Trump, as the sources said he did not make any mention of allegations when making the request.
Some Trump associates have now begun to speculate that Gaetz made his request for a group pardon because he knew of the trouble heading his way, the Times reported.
Rep Matt Gaetz allegedly asked President Donald Trump for pre-emptive pardons for himself and his congressional allies for any crimes they may have committed months before he was revealed to be under federal investigation for sex trafficking
Gaetz in November had publicly called for Trump to issue blanket pardons for all of his allies – including himself – to protect from the ‘bloodlust’ of political opponents.
‘President Trump should pardon Michael Flynn. He should pardon the Thanksgiving turkey. He should pardon everyone from himself to his administration officials to Joe Exotic if he has to,’ Gaetz told Fox News.
‘You see from the radical left a bloodlust that will only be quenched if they come after the people who worked so hard to animate the Trump administration with the policies and the vigor and the effectiveness that delivered for the American people.’
Trump ultimately issued 116 pardons in his last month in office, but none of them were pre-emptive, even though he technically had the power to do so.
Approached by the Times this week, a spokesperson for Gaetz denied that he had privately asked Trump for a pardon.
‘Entry-level political operatives have conflated a pardon call from Representative Gaetz — where he called for President Trump to pardon “everyone from himself, to his administration, to Joe Exotic” — with these false and increasingly bizarre, partisan allegations against him,’ the spokesperson said.
‘Those comments have been on the record for some time, and President Trump even retweeted the congressman, who tweeted them out himself.’
Gaetz in November had publicly called for Trump to issue blanket pardons for all of his allies – including himself – to protect from the ‘bloodlust’ of political opponents
Trump and his allies have thus far stayed quiet about the allegations surrounding Gaetz, failing to come to the embattled Republican lawmaker’s defense.
And their silence is deafening as Gaetz struggles to save his political career amid a string of lurid allegations, including claims he was involved in a Harry Potter-themed sex game, paid for sex using Apple Pay and showed Congressional colleagues on the House floor photos of naked women.
Gaetz was one of Trump’s top allies on Capitol Hill, vigorously defending the former president during his first impeachment trial from his perch on the House Judiciary Committee.
Trump, who has not been shy about blasting out statements on an array of matters, has yet to send one out on Gaetz. And a spokesman for the former president didn’t respond to DailyMail.com’s inquiries.
Trump and his allies have thus far stayed quiet about the allegations surrounding Gaetz
Gaetz was a top Trump ally on Capitol Hill and a frequent guest at Mar-a-Lago. He’s seen above at the president’s Palm Beach Club in March 2020 during a dinner for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro
Gaetz, meanwhile, is using the president’s own playbook in crafting his defense the allegations including claims the Justice Department is investigating whether he trafficked a 17-year-old girl.
The Florida Republican has gone on the offense, rapidly responding to the hits and appearing on conservative news networks to claim he’s the victim of a conspiracy.
He claims to be the victim of an extortion plot involving former Justice Department official David McGee, who was trying to exhort $25million from his family to help rescue American hostage Robert Levinson from Iran. McGree denied Gaetz’s charge.
But, with Trump and his cadre having abandoned Gaetz for the time being, the congressman has been left to his own devices.
‘It only works for Donald Trump,’ a former Trump administration official told The Washington Post about Gaetz’s response tactics.
Gaetz has remained defiant and says he will not resign his congressional seat
The former president has been monitoring the situation from his Mar-a-Lago residence, the Daily Beast reported, but, thus far, is heeding aides’ advice to stay quiet and stay out of it.
Those in Trump’s orbit see Gaetz as ‘a grenade whose pin had already been pulled,’ Politico reported in a piece that noted the 38-year-old congressman had ‘a reputation for a wild personal lifestyle that, associates say, occasionally bordered on reckless.’
‘Not a lot of people are surprised,’ one Trump ally told the news outlet.
‘Anyone that has ever spent 10 minutes with the guy would realize he’s an unserious person,’ said one former Trump campaign aide.
Also not defending Gaetz is Republican leadership on Capitol Hill. House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy said Gaetz would be removed from his committee assignments if the allegations turned out to be true.
Gaetz has ruffled feathers inside the GOP caucus with his willingness to take shots at fellow Republicans. Rep. Liz Cheney, a member of the party leadership, has been one of his top targets. Gaetz traveled to her home state of Wyoming to criticize her after she was one of 10 House Republicans to vote for Trump’s second impeachment.
Thus far, only two House Republicans have really come to Gaetz’s defense: Republican Jim Jordan of Ohio, who faced his own allegations he ignored sexual assault allegations from wrestlers regarding their coach at Ohio State University, and Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who lost her committee assignments after Democrats voted her from them in the wake of conspiracy theories she spread on social media.
Gaetz proposed to his fiancée Ginger Lucky at Donald Trump’s Palm Beach club in December
Gaetz, meanwhile, has remained defiant and says he will not resign his congressional seat.
‘No, I am absolutely not resigning,’ he wrote in one of his first public comments about the allegations in a column for the Washington Examiner published on Monday.
‘First, I have never, ever paid for sex,’ he wrote. ‘And second, I, as an adult man, have not slept with a 17-year-old.’
Engaged since New Year’s Eve, he wrote: ‘My lifestyle of yesteryear may be different from how I live now, but it was not and is not illegal.’
He added: ‘Washington scandal cycles are predictable, and sex is especially potent in politics. Let me first remind everyone that I am a representative in Congress, not a monk, and certainly not a criminal.
The three-term congressman made a name for himself cozying up to Trump. Gaetz was a frequent guest at Mar-a-Lago, which sat about an hour from his Florida congressional district.
Gaetz even proposed to his fiancée Ginger Lucky at Trump’s Palm Beach club this past December.
Rep. Matt Gaetz fought anti-revenge porn bill in Florida Legislature because he thought sexual pictures of ex-lovers were ‘his to use as he wanted’, lawmaker says
Tom Goodson, who served as a Republican representative of the Florida House of Representatives from 2010 to 2018 (pictured in 2015 presenting the bill in Tallahassee), said Gaetz was the main opponent to the legislation
Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz fought against an anti-revenge porn bill in the Florida state Legislature because he thought sexual pictures of lovers were ‘his to use as he wanted’, according to a former state representative.
Tom Goodson, who served as a Republican representative of the Florida House of Representatives from 2010 to 2018, told the Orlando Sentinel that Gaetz was the main opponent to legislation banning people from sharing sexually explicit photos of their ex-partners with others without the individual’s consent.
‘Matt was absolutely against it. He thought the picture was his to do with what he wanted,’ Goodson told the outlet.
‘He thought that any picture was his to use as he wanted to, as an expression of his rights.’
The claims come after Gaetz was accused of showing off nude photos of women he said he had slept with to other lawmakers – including while he was on the House floor in Washington.
The congressman’s past behaviors and endeavors have increasingly come under the spotlight over the last week, after it emerged he is under investigation by the Justice Department for allegedly having sex with a 17-year-old girl and trafficking her across state lines.
Gaetz, 38, is expected to be indicted in a federal court over the next few weeks in connection to sexual activity with at least one minor, who testified before a Florida grand jury that she had sex with him before she turned 18, DailyMail.com has learned.
Investigators have also reportedly been looking into allegations he paid women via Apple Pay for ecstasy-fueled sex at Florida hotels after being introduced to them by former tax collector Joel Greenberg, who has been charged with sex trafficking a minor.
Gaetz has repeatedly denied the allegations and instead claimed he is the victim of an elaborate extortion plot by a former Justice Department official seeking to free an American hostage from Iran.
Goodson, who spent three years sponsoring the legislation, said Gaetz repeatedly pushed back on passing the bill to ban ‘nonconsensual pornography’ during his time in Tallahassee.
Gaetz, a staunch Donald Trump ally and the only member of Congress to vote against a human trafficking bill in 2017, was elected to the House of Representatives in 2016.
Prior to this, he represented Florida’s 4th House district in the Florida House of Representatives in Tallahassee from 2010 to 2016.
Goodson said Gaetz opposed the bill because he believed intimate photos became the property of the recipient of them and so they had a right to share them with other people if they wished.
The bill was first put on the table in the Florida Legislature in 2013 and the next year sailed through two Senate committees and the full Senate by unanimous votes.