Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) allegedly sought a pre-emptive pardon to head off a Justice Department probe into his involvement in alleged sex trafficking, according to a report.
Former White House aide Johnny McEntee made the claim during testimony to the Jan. 6 committee, the Washington Post reported Saturday.
McEntee said he recalled Gaetz saying “that they are launching an investigation into him or that there’s an investigation into him” and that “he did not do anything wrong but they are trying to make his life hell, and you know, if the president could give him a pardon, that would be great,” according to the outlet.
The federal probe into Gaetz was opened in the final months of the Trump administration by Attorney General Bill Barr.
McEntee said he believed the Republican congressman was talking about the sex trafficking case.
Gaetz has reportedly been under federal investigation for years over questions about whether he paid for sex, and for underage women to travel across state lines for sex. The congressman has consistently denied the allegations and has called the probe bogus.
“Congressman Matt Gaetz discussed pardons for many other people publicly and privately at the end of President Donald Trump’s first term,” a spokesperson told the paper. “As for himself, President Trump addressed this malicious rumor more than a year ago stating, ‘Congressman Matt Gaetz has never asked me for a pardon.’ Rep. Gaetz continues to stand by President Trump’s statement.”
Gaetz didn’t immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.
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