What we need to recognize is that when returned these verdicts will not just tell us about these individual cases; they will foretell whether we are moving toward a political culture of accountability to the nation’s stated ideals.
Joel Greenberg, a tax collector linked to the Justice Department‘s investigation of Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Fl.), is expected to strike a deal and plead guilty by May 15, according to his attorney, Fritz Scheller, Greenberg is the former tax collector for Seminole County.
“If I get a plea agreement in this case, it’s not something I’m going to sign right away I have to go over it with my client and there’s always some pushback in negotiation,” Scheller told reporters following a hearing yesterday.
The bad news for
It’s been a bit more than a week since the
Former President Donald Trump denied reports that Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Fl.), directly asked him for a blanket pardon while noting that Gaetz himself has denied allegations that he violated sex trafficking laws and engaged in other sexual misconduct while in office.
“Congressman Matt Gaetz has never asked me for a pardon,” Trump said in a statement. “It must also be remembered that he has totally denied the accusations against him.”
Yesterday, The New York Times, citing two sources with direct knowledge of the matter, reported that “In the final weeks of Mr. Trump’s term, Mr. Gaetz sought something in return. He privately asked the White House for blanket pre-emptive pardons for himself and unidentified congressional allies for any crimes they may have committed, according to two people told of the discussions.”
“No one in the Republican Party is surprised by Gaetz’s fall, but why was Gaetz asking for pardons for other congressional Republicans?” writes PoliticusUSA’s Jason Easley, who notes that Trump has been accused of sexual assault by numerous women. “These are all legitimate questions that should be answered, and Matt Gaetz’s request for pardons for other Republicans suggests that this scandal could far beyond one potential sex trafficking Florida congressman.”
Trump’s denial came a day after Politico reported that he and his allies have largely abandoned Gaetz after it emerged that the Department of Justice is investigating whether he victimized a 17-year-old girl and taken her across state lines.
Trump has reportedly followed the advice of his aides and chosen to distance himself from Gaetz altogether. One Trump confidante told Politico that Gaetz isn’t someone who people would rally to defend.
The night that news broke that the DOJ was investigating Matt Gaetz for sex trafficking, Tucker Carlson invited him on his show. The interview, seen as a favor for the Florida congressman, went off the rails almost immediately. Carlson later referred to the spot as one of the weirdest interviews he’s ever conducted.
And since then, much of the GOP has abandoned the embattled Florida lawmaker. Republicans like Jim Jordan and Marjorie Taylor Greene defended him, but other than that, it’s been crickets. Even Donald Trump, who Gaetz stood by every step of the way, hasn’t said a word about the scandal.
And despite the fact that Gaetz is accused of having a sexual relationship with a teenager, one women’s group felt he would be the perfect speaker for one of their event. The Florida congressman will speak at a Women for America First event on Friday night. And the event will be held at Trump’s Doral property.
The group, who have been connected to January’s insurrection, said in statement, “Congressman Matt Gaetz has been a fearless leader in Washington. Few members of Congress have been more willing than Matt to stand up and fight on behalf of President Trump and his America First Agenda.”
Gaetz also promoted the event, tweeting, “Join me at Trump Doral Friday! Thank you to ‘Women for America First’ for the invitation to share my vision for our great nation.”
Join me at Trump Doral Friday!
Thank you to “Women for America First” for the invitation to share my vision for our great nation. https://t.co/FxkgaZqeC8
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) April 6, 2021
Former President Donald Trump and his allies have largely abandoned Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Fl.), who is currently facing an investigation on child sex trafficking charges after it emerged that the Department of Justice is investigating whether he victimized a 17-year-old girl and taken her across state lines. Though Gaetz, a noted Trump acolyte, has denied the allegations, he has no support from Trump or his inner circle.
“Not a lot of people are surprised,” said one person involved in Trump’s post-presidential operations who spoke to Politico.
“Anyone that has ever spent 10 minutes with the guy would realize he’s an unserious person,” said another source, this one a former Trump campaign aide.
Trump has reportedly followed the advice of his aides and chosen to distance himself from Gaetz altogether. One Trump confidante told Politico that Gaetz isn’t someone who people would rally to defend.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Fl.) should be removed from the House Judiciary Committee if allegations about sex trafficking a teenage girl prove to be true.
“If in fact these allegations are true, of course being removed from the Judiciary Committee is the least that could be done,” Pelosi told reporters. “From what we’ve heard so far, this would be a matter for the Ethics Committee.”
Gaetz is facing calls that he be stripped of his committee assignments, including his assignment on the House Judiciary Committee, at least until the investigation is complete.
Earlier this week, Representative Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said Gaetz “
should not be sitting on a Congressional Committee with oversight over the DOJ
Speaking on MSNBC’s “TheReidOut,” ex-prosecutor Joyce Vance, who served as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama from 2009 to 2017, said Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Fl.) should keep quiet while under investigation on possible child sex trafficking charges.
“The one thing that’s clear, the only certain takeaway I have from this, is that the congressman needs a lawyer,” Vance said, just a day after Gaetz denied the allegations that he’d victimized a 17-year-old girl and taken her across state lines in an interview with Fox News personality Tucker Carlson.
“He needs to have someone giving him legal advice because he is perilously close to incriminating himself, conceding some of the elements of potential crimes,” Vance continued. “And just running his mouth in a way that no one who’s the subject of a federal investigation should be doing.”
You can watch Vance’s appearance on MSNBC below.
"The only certain takeaway from this is that the Congressman needs a lawyer … because he's perilously close to incriminating himself, conceding some of the elements of potential crimes, and just running his mouth."@JoyceWhiteVance on Matt Gaetz. #TheReidOut pic.twitter.com/0JXp1rCLIR
Donald Trump has shown a willingness to defend almost anyone who is willing to defend him. When it comes to the Capitol insurrectionists, he went as far as saying that rather than attacking the police officers, they were hugging and kissing them.
Matt Gaetz, though, presents a new challenge. Few are more sycophantic towards Trump. And while the former president may have trouble remembering the Florida congressman’s name, it is still likely that he could come out in support of him.
Gaetz, though, has been accused of sexual misconduct with a teenager. Trump’s allies, according to Maggie Haberman, don’t want him to touch this situation.
CNN host Jim Sciutto asked the New York Times scribe, “Congressman Gaetz is a staunch and vocal ally of President Trump. Any sense how this news is being received by the president or people in his orbit?”
“The only other person I can think of that I have seen handled an investigation this way is Donald Trump, under investigation by the Mueller team,” the journalist responded. “But he was president. And it’s a little different the protections you have as president, versus anyone else.”
“In terms of how Trump and his folks are handling it, they are still processing the information. There are some people around President Trump, and President Trump himself, who like Matt Gaetz a lot, and people wary of him in the former president’s orbit. The former president’s first impulse will be to want to defend him and suggest that this is political, despite the fact it was Bill Barr under whom this investigation started. There are others around the former president who are cautioning him to wait and see what, if anything else, comes out.”
On Tuesday night, the New York Times revealed that Matt Gaetz is being investigated by the Department of Justice. And the possible charges are quite severe. The Florida congressman is accused of being in a sexual relationship with a 17 year old and taking her across state lines. This opens up the possibility of a sex trafficking charge.
Not surprisingly, some in the Conservative world were quick to defend Gaetz. A number of QAnon supporters have thrown their support to him. And white nationalist Nick Fuentes has tried to downplay the charges by saying that Gaetz would have been fine if he just married his alleged victim.
The Alt-Right commentator began, “We live in a society where age of consent law is the gospel. Age of consent law, if you violate that, crucify the man! Female teachers are having sex with middle-schoolers all the time and nobody cares about that.”
Fuentes continued, “17… hmm … I don’t know that that’s a world shattering terrible thing. I don’t even know that it was immoral other than it was premarital. If Matt Gaetz had married her, I would have said …well… If he had married her with her consent and the consent of the parents this is completely moral. It’s very traditional and honestly, this is how it always used to be.”
Watch a clip of the segment below, courtesy of Right Wing Cope:
Nick Fuentes COMES OUT IN DEFENSE of Matt Gaetz; says it wouldn't be as bad if Gaetz married her 🤮pic.twitter.com/i9i3S45GOu
— Right Wing Cope (@RightWingCope) March 31, 2021
Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) is a devoted subscriber to the QAnon conspiracy theory, which claims Democrats are trafficking children and protecting a secret global pedophile cabal while conspiring against former President Donald Trump.
But when faced with the news that the Department of Justice is investigating Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Fl.) on potential sex trafficking charges regarding his relationship with a 17-year-old girl who traveled with him across state lines, Greene jumped to his defense.
Greene accused the Justice Department of participating in a “witch hunt” against Gaetz, who is another noted Trump supporter as well as one of her allies in Congress.
“The DOJ needs to release the tapes instead of allowing another witch hunt to take place,” she wrote on Twitter.
The DOJ needs to release the tapes instead of allowing another witch hunt to take place. https://t.co/0rb7mTykcb
— Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@mtgreenee) March 31, 2021
When people are accused of a serious crime, lawyers typically encourage them to stay silent about the matter. On Tuesday night, it was revealed that Matt Gaetz is being investigated for serious sex trafficking charges.
Rather than staying silent about the matter, though, Gaetz came out swinging and making wild accusations. The Florida Rep. attempted to defend himself during an appearance on Tucker Carlson’s show. It might not have went the way he wanted it to go, though, with Carlson calling it the “weirdest interview I’ve ever conducted.”
The Florida Rep. claimed, “What is happening is extortion of me and my family regarding a former Department of Justice official.”
Gaetz also said, “I‘m not the only person on screen right now that has been falsely accused of a terrible sex act.” This was an odd statement from the Florida Rep. Last year, Carlson was named in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Fox News.
Carlson responded, “You just referred to a mentally ill viewer who accused me of a sex crime 20 years ago and, of course, it was not true. I never met the person. But I do agree with you that being accused falsely that being accused falsely is one of the worst things that can happen and you do see it a lot. Let’s go back to the investigation you say it was or is underway. There was an investigation. What is the basis of that investigation? What is the allegation that really not very clear from these news stories. “
Tucker Carlson bristles when Matt Gaetz brings up sexual assault allegations brought against the Fox host. pic.twitter.com/GuqgkxzHYX
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) March 31, 2021
It has been a wild day for Florida Representative Matt Gaetz. Earlier in they day, many were surprised by rumors that the Trump sycophant could be leaving his post to go serve as a political commentator on Newsmax.
But later in the day, Americans got a hint as to why he could be leaving. In a bombshell report, the New York Times revealed that Gaetz is being investigated by the Department of Justice on potential sex trafficking charges.
As of right now, though, Gaetz is still a sitting member of the House of Representatives. And along with that job comes an assignment on the House Judiciary Committee. Rep. Ted Lieu is calling on the Florida Rep. to be removed from that committee until the investigation is completed.
The California Democrat took to his Twitter account, writing, “Rep Matt Gaetz should be taken off the @HouseJudiciary Committee until the @TheJusticeDept investigation is completed. He should not be sitting on a Congressional Committee with oversight over the DOJ while the Department is investigating him.”
Rep Matt Gaetz should be taken off the @HouseJudiciary Committee until the @TheJusticeDept investigation is completed. He should not be sitting on a Congressional Committee with oversight over the DOJ while the Department is investigating him. https://t.co/TKRfSyCgHe
When Donald Trump was president, the lawmakers most willing to by sycophantic to him became Republican starts. People like Jim Jordan, Paul Gosar and Louie Gohmert earned notoriety by sticking close to Trump.
But no one represented this phenomenon better than Florida congressman Matt Gaetz. Gaetz, who threatened Michael Cohen before a hearing, was paid back for his Trump loyalty with a national profile and speaking spots at CPAC.
This morning, it was revealed that Gaetz could be looking into leaving the House of Representatives for a place in cable media. And now the New York Times is reporting that the Florida Rep. is being investigated in a sex trafficking case.
Michael Schmidt and Katie Brenner write, “R
epresentative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida and a close ally of former President Donald J. Trump, is being investigated by the Justice Department
This year saw both Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene were elected to congress. Prior to that, Republican voters had elected people like Louie Gohmert, Paul Gosar and Marsha Blackburn to office.
So one can forgive Dan Rodimer for deciding that GOP voters will vote for pretty much anyone as long as they have an R next to their name. The former pro-wrestler has been seeking election to the House of Representatives for years.
Rodimer was able to win the Republican nomination for a Nevada congressional race in 2020 where he lost. Undeterred by his loss, the Republican recently announced that he would seeking the nomination for Texas‘ 6th District.
The Republican made the announcement with a ridiculous video where he cosplayed a cowboy. He captioned the ad, “Are you sick of the BULL coming out of DC? Texas has BIG Problems – we need to send a BIG FIGHTER to Congress to solve them. Send BIG DAN to Congress to put an END to Nancy Pelosi’s BULL!”
The video drew immediate mockery from Democrats and Republicans alike. Even Florida congressman Matt Gaetz couldn’t resist taking a shot at his. Gaetz wrote, “Fake Texan makes fake video of fake bull ride. We already have enough phonies in congress. Texans, please send this Nevada man back to his true home state (where he lost two prior elections). Texas shouldn’t import its congressmen. Big Dan is all hat, no cattle.”
Watch Rodimer’s video below, courtesy of Twitter:
Fake Texan makes fake video of fake bull ride.
We already have enough phonies in congress.
Texans, please send this Nevada man back to his true home state (where he lost two prior elections).
Texas shouldn’t import its congressmen.
Big Dan is all hat, no cattle. https://t.co/CcGZsUG4kv
Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Fl.) has come under fire after saying that Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) “should not have apologized” for flying to Cancún while millions of people went without food and water as a result of the Texas power disaster.
Ted Cruz should not have apologized.
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) February 19, 2021
Gaetz was almost immediately criticized for coming to Cruz’s defense at a time when the state of Texas is facing a significant humanitarian disaster that has claimed the lives of at least 47 people as severe winter weather continues to batter the state.
“You are nauseating,” said one person, while another accused him of “elitist” behavior. Yet another person implied Gaetz would likely flee his own state in the event of a similar disaster.
You are nauseating. I thought you guys wanted to build a wall? Now it’s just cool to flee inhospitable living conditions? Oh, ok.
— Mela Shea (@MelaShea) February 19, 2021
@mattgaetz thinks he's part of an Elitist Society instead of the Public Servant he is. You and @SenTedCruz have a lot to learn about being public servants. You DON'T OWN US! We are YOUR BOSSES! https://t.co/mkzVtoeumT
Many GOP lawmakers made no secret of their support for Donald Trump. This was obvious when 147 Republican congresspeople voted to overturn November’s election results.
But some elected officials stood out for their sheer sycophancy towards Trump. And one the top of that list is Matt Gaetz. The Florida congressman may have been embarrassed when Trump called him “Rick” at a rally, but that hasn’t stopped him from doing everything to support the ex-President.
Donald Trump just mistakenly called Matt Gaetz by the wrong name several times at his rally in Ocala, Florida.
Trump kept calling him Rick Gates.
— Travis Akers (@travisakers) October 16, 2020
During a recent episode of War Room Pandemic, Gaetz said that he’d be willing to give up everything to defend Trump. He told host Steve Bannon:
“Absolutely. If the president called me and wanted me to go defend him on the floor of the Senate, that would be the top priority in my life. I would leave my House seat, I would leave my home.”
Upon hearing the idea, political Twitter was all too happy to dunk on Gaetz. Huff Post’s Andy Campbell tweeted, “Matt Gaetz says he would resign as a congressman in order to defend Trump in congressional hearings. I’m no political strategist but this seems like a totally viable plan. Worth a shot!”
Matt Gaetz says he would resign as a congressman in order to defend Trump in congressional hearings. I’m no political strategist but this seems like a totally viable plan. Worth a shot! https://t.co/7hcdoewgAI
Donald Trump is no longer the President and spends most of his time at his Mar-a-Lago club. He has also lost the use of his Twitter account, which was until recently, his favorite way to connect with his supporters.
Still, the ex-President has his sycophants in Washington DC who are still pushing the message of Trumpism. And no one is a bigger Trump sycophant than Matt Gaetz.
On Thursday, the Florida Congressman flew to Wyoming to attack Liz Cheney. Cheney, a powerful member of Congress, voted to impeach Donald Trump just last week.
Gaetz not only mocked the Wyoming Rep. during his appearance, he took aim at other Republicans as well.
“Our battle is no longer just Republican vs. Democrat,” said the Florida Rep, “it’s not just red team versus blue team. Absolutely not — we’ve got to put America first. Those are the old battles of yesteryear. But people have always come to the great frontiers of Wyoming to win the future — that’s why I’m here.”
Gaetz continued, “The truth is that the establishment in both political parties have teamed up to screw our fellow Americans for generations. The private insider club of Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, Nancy Pelosi and Liz Cheney they want to return our government to its default setting: enriching them.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz: "This is my first time in Wyoming. I've been here for about an hour and I feel like I already know the place a lot better than your misguided representative, Liz Cheney." pic.twitter.com/ZncWZSJWeH
Donald Trump lost the 2020 election. And next week, that actuality will be confirmed by the electoral college. The group will be certifying the results on December 14th.
Once that occurs, a number of GOP lawmakers who have been reticent to name Biden the victor could be willing to change their tune. Ohio congressman Jim Jordan, though, will not be among them. On Monday, the Trump loyalist said that there is no way Trump should consider conceding the election.
“No. No way, no way, no way,” Jordan told CNN’s Manu Raju. “We should still try to figure out exactly what took place here. And as I said that includes, I think, debates on the House floor — potentially on Jan. 6.”
The Ohio lawmaker continued to dabble in conspiracy theories. “I know we have members who feel that way, feel very strongly about we should be debating what took place in Pennsylvania. But, you know, you had all kinds of crazy things happening in Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, all these in Nevada. … So everything you look at doesn’t make sense.”
Asked if Trump should concede once electors vote on Dec. 14, Jim Jordan said: "No. No way, no way, no way."
"We should still try to figure out exactly what took place here.” Conservative Rs press for floor fight, tho it stands little chance of succeeding https://t.co/fAgbMqM1Hr