Leading Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz investigated over sexual relationship

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz said Tuesday he is under investigation for alleged sex trafficking of an underage girl claiming the allegations are part of an extortion attempt involving a former Justice Department employee. File

Rep. Matt Gaetz has confirmed that he is under federal investigation for "sexual conduct with women"-but he says the allegations "are as searing as they are false".

In an interview with the Daily Beast, McGee denied the allegations of blackmail, saying that any reports of extortion are "completely, totally false".

"You were accused of something that you did not do", Gaetz told Carlson.

While on Carlson's show, Gaetz immediately declared that the report he had a relationship with a teenager whom he traveled with was a "lie" and "verifiably false". "It's a blatant attempt to distract from the fact that he's under investigation for sex trafficking of minors", adding, "I have no connection with that case at all, other than, one of a thousand people who have heard the rumors". The briefing was important because - among other reasons - Barr didn't want to accidentally appear anywhere with Gaetz, the person said. "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".

In response to that claim, Carlson says: 'I don't remember the women you're speaking of or the context at all honestly'.

I don't know how you can criminalize someone's sexual misconduct unless that conduct is, you know, criminal, but okay! Which, as you saw, he did. "I don't think that clarified much, but it certainly showed this is a deeply interesting story". Investigators are reportedly looking into whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship two years ago with a then-17-year-old girl, and whether Gaetz may have paid for her to travel across state lines with her.

According to both the Times' report and Gaetz's own statements, it is believed that he is "the subject, not the target" of this investigation.

Gaetz said he has provided financially for former sexual partners but said he was "absolutely" confident none of them were underage. The person could not publicly discuss the details of an ongoing investigation and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

Gaetz's comments came shortly after the Times first reported the investigation. The congressman claimed in interviews with USA news outlets that the allegations were part of an extortion plot by a former Department of Justice official.

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"Over the past several weeks 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".

During an appearance on Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight," Gaetz added another crucial data point to the timeline: he said that someone involved in the alleged extortion scheme texted his father on March 16 "demanding a meeting wherein a person demanded $25 million in exchange for making terrible sex trafficking allegations against me go away". He demanded the Justice Department release the recordings.

According to the New York Times, the investigation into Mr Gaetz was part of a broader federal investigation into one of the congressman's friends - Joel Greenberg, a fellow Florida politician.

Earlier in the day, Axios reported that Gaetz was considering an early retirement from congress in order to join conservative cable news network Newsmax.

'You know, I've paid for flights, for hotel rooms.

"I know that there was a demand for money in exchange for a commitment that he could make this investigation go away along with his co-conspirators".

With a puzzled look on his face, Carlson responded, "You just referred to a mentally ill viewer who accused me of a sex crime 20 years ago".

There was no mention of Gaetz in the indictment, which provided no further information about the sex trafficking charges against Greenberg.

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