Matt Gaetz probe – House minority leader McCarthy vows to remove congressman if sex trafficking claims are true

HOUSE Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said that Rep Matt Gaetz would be removed should sex trafficking claims against him prove true.

McCarthy said on Wednesday that if Gaetz was found guilty, he'd be removed from his committee assignments, including the Judiciary Committee.

However, McCarthy added that the Florida Republican will remain on his current panels until the Department of Justice concludes its investigation.

"Those are serious implications. If it comes out to be true, yes, we would remove him if that's the case," McCarthy told Fox News.

"But right now Matt Gaetz says that it's not true and we don't have any information, so let's get all the information."

Gaetz, a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump, is being investigated by the Justice Department over allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her travel.

Gaetz, 38, has vehemently denied the allegations, and played the investigation off as an extortion attempt.

Appearing on Tucker Carlson Tonight on Tuesday, Gaetz said the "horrible allegation" is a "lie," and said that he was being extorted by a Florida lawyer, David McGee.

Repeating claims he had made earlier in the day, Gaetz said his father was contacted because of an extortion scheme that was aimed at, "Bleeding my family out of money."

When Carlson asked what comes next, Gaetz said he was supposed to transfer money as part of a bribe, only for the New York Times' story to break and the information about the Justice Department's investigation to go public.

"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."

When he was quizzed about his alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, Gaetz said she "doesn't exist."

"The person doesn't exist. I have not had a relationship with a 17-year-old. That is totally false."

McGee, the lawyer Gaetz accused, currently works at Beggs & Lane law firm, and the former lead attorney for the DOJ's Organized Crime Task Force said he had nothing to do with a plan to extort Gaetz.

"It is completely false. It's a blatant attempt to distract from the fact that he's under investigation for sex trafficking of minors," he said.

"I have no connection with that case at all, other than [being] one of a thousand people who have heard the rumors."

He said that Gaetz's father had "called me and asked to talk to me" and said he'd welcome a tape of their conversation to be made public.

"If there is a tape, play the tape. There is nothing on that tape that is untoward."

After the story broke, Gaetz released a statement claiming that, "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."

A number of federal statues make it illegal to induce someone under the age of 18 to travel across state lines in order to engage in sex in exchange for money or something of value.

The Times, citing people briefed on the matter, said that the investigation into Gaetz's possible actions was opened in the final months of the Trump administration under Attorney General William Barr.

The probe reportedly involves a girl, who was 17 at the time of her encounter with the representative — which occurred about two years ago.

Georgia Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene stated that she supports her embroiled colleague, slamming the allegations against him "lies" and "rumors."

QAnon supporter Greene said the claims were "conspiracy theories and lies" and compared the case to Trump and the investigation into Russian collusion.

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