Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) is trying to tell us that he’s not going down alone. Last night, the much-maligned congressman lowkey tried to implicate Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson (and his wife) into his sex abuse allegations during an unusual interview on live television.
According to a New York Times report, Gaetz, an ally of former President Donald Trump, is part of a Justice Department investigation into a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old. He potentially faces charges related to federal sex trafficking laws.
The Times also reports that “the investigation was opened in the final months of the Trump administration under Attorney General William Barr” with senior Justice Department officials aware of the inquiry. Gaetz has not been charged “and the extent of his criminal exposure is unclear,” according to the Times.
Gaetz appeared to be on the offensive on Carlson’s show, attempting to get in front of the allegations, calling it “extortion.” He also gave the name of a former Justice official, David McGee, as the person extorting him.
“This is a blatant attempt to distract from the fact that Matt Gaetz is apparently about to be indicted for sex trafficking underage girls,” said McGee to the Daily Beast.
However, Gaetz tried to loop Carlson into the mix on the show, deflecting from the accusations.
“I only know what I’ve read about in the New York Times,” he claims, before putting Carlson into the dragnet. “I can say that you and I went to dinner about two years ago. Your wife was there. I brought a friend of mine. You’ll remember her.”
How Carlson can maintain the straightest of faces as he’s being live-dragged into Gaetz’s murky waters is beyond everything.
“And she was actually threatened by the FBI,” he continues. “She was 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. I do believe there are people at the Department of Justice who are trying to smear me. Providing for flights and hotel rooms for people you are dating, who are of legal age, is not a crime. And I’m just troubled the lack of any sort of legitimate investigation into me would then permute, would then convert into this extortion attempt.”
“I don’t remember the woman you’re speaking of or the context at all,” replies Carlson after a beat.
Later, unprompted, Gaetz makes mentions of allegations of pictures showing him with child prostitutes. He also reminded Carlson about his own accusations of rape.
The 38-year-old laid out more details on Twitter yesterday on his allegations of a smear campaign.
Aside from current calls for Gaetz to be relieved of his House Judiciary duties during the investigation, the Times also notes that Gaetz “has recently mused with confidants about quitting elected politics and taking a full-time job with the conservative television channel Newsmax or another network, according to a person familiar with the conversations.”