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“Hey @MichaelCohen212 – Do your wife and father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for the chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn alot,” Gaetz wrote Tuesday in the now-deleted tweet.
It was being widely reported at the time that Cohen, a congressional witness, was preparing to reveal incriminating public remarks about President Donald Trump. Many viewed Gaetz’s tweet as a form of witness tampering, and the Florida Bar opened the investigation into Gaetz to see whether he violated rules.
“If rules have been violated, the Florida Bar will vigorously pursue appropriate discipline by the Florida Supreme Court,” Florida bar spokesperson Francine Walker said in a statement. “The Florida Bar takes its responsibility of regulating lawyer conduct very seriously.”
Gaetz later said that the Florida Bar is required to investigate “even the most frivolous complaints,” according to the New York Times.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement on Twitter asking representatives to refrain from making statements on social media that have the ability to obstruct house committees’ investigations. Pelosi’s statement prompted Gaetz to delete the tweet.
I encourage all Members to be mindful that comments made on social media or in the press can adversely affect the ability of House Committees to obtain the truthful and complete information necessary to fulfill their duties. https://t.co/NDnxkaiFCA pic.twitter.com/DIIgSHgeb5— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) February 26, 2019
“Speaker, I want to get the truth too,” Gaetz wrote in response. “While it is important 2 create context around the testimony of liars like Michael Cohen, it was NOT my intent to threaten, as some believe I did. I’m deleting the tweet & I should have chosen words that better showed my intent. I’m sorry.”
Speaker, I want to get the truth too. While it is important 2 create context around the testimony of liars like Michael Cohen, it was NOT my intent to threaten, as some believe I did. I’m deleting the tweet & I should have chosen words that better showed my intent. I’m sorry. https://t.co/Rdbw3sTQJD— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) February 27, 2019
- Far-right Florida lawmaker threatens Michael Cohen on Twitter (updated)
- Republican brings Black aide to Cohen testimony to show Trump isn’t racist
- Trump once tweeted about the alleged fake buyer Cohen found for charity portrait
Eilish O'Sullivan is an editorial intern for the Daily Dot studying journalism and government at the University of Texas at Austin. Her work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle and the Daily Texan.