Rep. Adam Kinzinger called for the resignation of fellow Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz Thursday night, becoming the first GOP member of Congress to do so since it was first reported that Gaetz was implicated in a federal investigation into sex trafficking allegations.
“Matt Gaetz needs to resign,” Kinzinger tweeted, linking to an article about the Justice Department’s investigation into Gaetz.
Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing since The New York Times first reported on the federal probe and he has not been charged with any crimes. The Florida Republican, who gained national attention as one of former President Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters in Congress, has painted the allegations against him as part of a political attack and, when the news first broke, as part of an extortion scheme.
payments made in exchange for sex with several women.
Gaetz associate Joel Greenberg, a former Florida tax collector indicted on more than 30 federal charges in a related case, is negotiating a plea deal with prosecutors. Among other crimes, Greenberg is charged with child sex trafficking. According to the Times, Greenbeg is accused of trafficking the teen whose relationship with Gaetz is under investigation, and he and Gaetz allegedly made payments to several of the same women for sex.
potential plea deal was discussed. Scheller cited attorney-client privilege when asked directly if Greenberg was cooperating in a federal investigation of Gaetz.
Despite the federal investigation and the growing list of allegations against Gaetz, GOP lawmakers have remained mainly silent. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said that it’s too early to judge Gaetz and the allegations against him, but would remove Gaetz from his committee assignments if the allegations are true.
“Those are serious implications. If it comes out to be true, yes, we would remove him if that’s the case. 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,” McCarthy told Fox News Wednesday.
While most GOP lawmakers have distanced themselves from Gaetz, a few have run to his defense, including Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.
“I believe Matt Gaetz. He should not be removed from the Judiciary Committee,” Jordan told CNN.
Greene tweeted that she stood with Gaetz and that “Rumors and headlines don’t equal the truth.”
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