By Duncan Smith
Rep. Matt Gaetz is a rising star in the Trump-molded GOP.
That instantly makes him a target of the left.
On Tuesday, the New York Times ran a leaked story claiming that Gaetz ‘trafficked’ in underaged girls, including dating a 17-year-old.
The paper reported:
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.
And here’s the really disturbing part: Apparently, this probe was launched during Bill Barr’s tenure:
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.
Gaetz immediately denounced the reporting and said he was the target of an extortion scheme.
“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.”
He also said he and his dad have been working with the FBI to target the extortionist, said to be a former DoJ official.
“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.'
Fox News added:
The lawmaker said that his father, former Florida State Senate President Donald Gaetz, R-Okaloosa, has been wearing a covert wire at the behest of the FBI to “catch these criminals” involved and that the DOJ must release the recordings from the elder Gaetz’s wire — which he maintained would exonerate him of the damaging allegations.
Gaetz also claimed that his political opponents, namely California Congressman Ted Lieu, were already using these allegations to call for his legislative head — blaming the current political climate’s proclivity to “smear” opponents “out of the conversation.”
“It is a horrible allegation and it is a lie. The New York Times is running a story that I have traveled with a 17-year-old woman and that is verifiably false. People can look at my travel records and see that that is not the case. What is happening is an extortion of me and my family…” Gaetz said.
Gaetz was interviewed by Tucker Carlson following the Times report on Tuesday:
(Courtesy: Fox News)
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