Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida appeared on Tucker Carlson's show on Tuesday and denied allegations that he had sexual relations with a seventeen-year-old before naming a DOJ official who had attempted to extort his family for millions of dollars. "And the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice were so concerned about this attempted extortion of a member of Congress that they asked my dad to wear a wire, which he did, with the former Department of Justice official", Gaetz continued.
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the probe is part of a broader investigation into Joel Greenberg, a Florida tax collector and Gaetz ally who was charged a year ago with 14 felony counts, including sex trafficking of a minor.
"I don't remember the woman you are speaking of or the context at all, honestly", Carlson cut in to say, visibly stunned.
Gaetz's comments came shortly after the Times first reported the investigation. No charges had been filed as of the time of the report, but Gaetz told Axios on Tuesday that he fears charges against him may be coming.
Moments later, as Carlson continued to push for more details about the allegations, Gaetz once again turned the conversation back to the host.
Members of Congress were quick to react to a bombshell New York Times report that Gaetz has been under a DOJ investigation that began under former Attorney General Bill Barr's watch.
The probe has been under way for almost a year and Gaetz has been aware for months that he was under investigation, the person said. "I don't think that clarified much, but it certainly showed this is a deeply interesting story".
Gaetz said he has provided financially for former sexual partners but said he was "absolutely" confident none of them were underage. "I have a suspicion that someone is trying to recategorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward", Gaetz said in a statement.
"I believe that there are people at the Department of Justice who are trying to criminalize my sexual conduct, you know when I was a single guy", he reportedly said.
Gaetz alleges the investigation is connected to an attempt to extort him and his family by a former DOJ official.
He told Axios: "I have definitely, in my single days, provided for women I've dated".
"I have not had a relationship with a 17-year-old". "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". No part of the allegations against me are true, and the people pushing these lies are targets. of the ongoing extortion investigation. "And so, I do believe that there are people at the Department of Justice who are trying to smear me", he explained.
"And she was actually threatened by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, told that if she wouldn't cop to the fact that somehow I was involved in some pay for play scheme that she could face trouble".
Mr Gaetz has not been charged with a crime. "He should not be sitting on a Congressional Committee with oversight over the DOJ while the Department is investigating him", Lieu tweeted immediately following the story.