According to a new bombshell report by The New York Times, GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) sought a blanket pre-emptive pardon for himself from the White House during the final weeks of President Trump’s administration. The revelation comes as the lawmaker finds himself the subject of a federal sex-trafficking investigation.
Citing two people familiar with the discussion, The Times reported that Gaetz asked Trump for a pardon for him and unidentified congressional allies, The conversation came at roughly the same time that Gaetz publicly called for Trump to pardon GOP allies and as the Justice Department investigated the Florida Republican over an alleged relationship with a 17-year-old that violated sex trafficking laws.
It was not immediately clear if Gaetz was aware of the federal investigation when he asked for a pardon, The Times reported.
Besides the Justice Department probe, reports have also emerged alleging that Gaetz showed colleagues nude photos of women he claims to have slept with and took illegal drugs and paid for sex with women.
Gaetz has denied all of the allegations and maintained that they are part of a smear campaign against him by his political opponents.
“Washington scandal cycles are predictable, and sex is especially potent in politics,” Gaetz wrote in an editorial published Monday in the Washington Examiner. “Let me first remind everyone that I am a representative in Congress, not a monk, and certainly not a criminal.”