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Gaetz Vows To Keep Fighting Despite DOJ Investigation

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Topline

Amid a reported federal sex trafficking probe, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) vowed in a Friday speech he’s “not going anywhere,” suggesting the recent wave of allegations against him are lies fomented by political enemies.

Key Facts

Gaetz spoke at a Friday afternoon event hosted by the pro-Trump group Women for America First, at former President Donald Trump’s golf club outside Miami.

The congressman called himself a “wanted man by the deep state,” blaming allegations that he had sex with a 17-year-old and paid women for sex — all of which he’s denied — on hyperbolic media outlets, political foes and an elaborate extortion scheme purportedly organized by an ex-prosecutor.

Gaetz claimed his supporters have encouraged him to stick around despite the controversy, promising, “I have not yet begun to fight.”

He thanked Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), both of whom publicly sided with Gaetz shortly after reports of the federal probe surfaced, and Trump, who issued a brief statement this week denying that Gaetz asked for a pardon.

Similarly, Gaetz told The Hill last week he has no plans to resign.

Crucial Quote

“They lie about me because I tell the truth about them, and I’m not going to stop,” Gaetz said. “So when you see the leaks and the lies and the falsehoods and the smears, when you see the anonymous sources and insiders forecasting my demise, know this: They aren’t really coming for me, they’re coming for you.”

Key Background

Gaetz has faced a torrent of serious allegations in the last week. The U.S. Department of Justice is reportedly looking into whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and violated federal sex trafficking laws by paying for her travel. They are also said to be investigating whether Gaetz and Joel Greenberg, a disgraced former Florida county official charged with sex trafficking last year, paid women for sex. Meanwhile, Gaetz is grappling with other allegations of inappropriate behavior, including reports that he showed nude photos of women to other members of Congress, prompting the House Ethics Committee to open an investigation into his conduct Friday. Gaetz has not only denied all allegations against him, he’s also insisted the DOJ probe is part of an effort to extort $25 million from him and his father.

Tangent

Gaetz’s communications director and legislative director both resigned late last week, days after the New York Times first revealed the DOJ probe.

Further Reading

Rep. Matt Gaetz ‘Needs To Resign,’ Republican Member Of Congress Adam Kinzinger Says (Forbes)

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