“President Trump should forgive Michael Flynn, he should forgive the Thanksgiving turkey, he should forgive each of himself, his administrators and Joe Exotic if they have to,” Rep. Matt Gaetz told Fox in November when he railed about it. Bloodlust ”from“ the radical left ”to eliminate anyone who supports the outgoing president.
Which looks a little different, given the many crazy stories of a federal investigation into possible sex trafficking in minors by the Florida congressman last week. And now the New York Times reports that in the last few weeks of the Trump administration, Gaetz has “privately asked the White House for a blanket pardon for itself and unidentified allies of Congress for any crimes.”
In retrospect, he probably wishes he hadn’t tweeted that a future scandal about him should be called “Gaetzgate”.
“Congressman Matt Gaetz never apologized to me,” the former president said this morning in one of his fake tweets. “It must also be remembered that he completely denied the allegations against him.”
Though the Times says Gaetz was nearing the “White House” where employees dismissed the idea as “bad precedent” – which is not exactly the same thing.
And while the story states that “it was unclear whether Mr. Gaetz or the White House knew at the time” that Gaetz was the subject of an FBI investigation into possible sex trafficking in minors, Gaetz ‘wingman Joel Greenberg was first indicted in June. So it is certain that the congressman felt the water rise until December when these pardon talks allegedly took place.
As for Greenberg, Politico has another wild piece on former Seminole County tax collector and proud owner of the domain registry for OrlandoSugarDaddy-dot-com. Greenberg is currently suing 33 counts on charges including identity theft, cable fraud, stalking, bribery of an official, theft of state property and sexual trafficking of minors.
Politico reports that Greenberg is allegedly speaking to the government about his former friend. If so, he probably has a story to tell. And he’s not the only one.
Three Greenberg friends – including one who testified against Greenberg prior to the federal grand jury investigation – told POLITICO they had heard him personally brag about his 2017 relationship with a then 17-year-old girl they claimed was him continued to work in pornography.
She hasn’t returned multiple messages to POLITICO on her cell phone and social media account.
Greenberg’s friends say he met the woman at SeekingArrangement. Gaetz would not discuss details of the case, but denies ever being on the site or having sexual relations with the victim or a minor.
As a minor, this woman was apparently unable to consent and her identity as a victim of a sex crime should be protected. But if every reporter in DC and Florida already knows her name, the chances of this being kept under wraps are basically zero.
This is to be taken into account in light of the Times’ suggestion that “some Trump employees have speculated that Mr. Gaetz’s request for a pardon for the group was an attempt to camouflage his own potential criminal exposure.” Like no one would notice his little problem with sex crimes if he walked arm and arm with half the Republican caucus.
Remember when President Clinton’s pardon for Marc Rich was the biggest scandal in history? The times have changed.
Matt Gaetz, loyal to Trump for years, is said to have sought a blanket pardon [NYT]The congressman and his wingman [Politico]
Elizabeth Dye lives in Baltimore, where she writes on law and politics.