Former President Donald Trump is denying reports that U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz sought a preemptive pardon for himself.
In a brief statement from his 45 Office, Trump denied allegations that Gaetz requested a pardon near the end of his presidential term.
“Congressman Matt Gaetz has never asked me for a pardon. It must also be remembered that he has totally denied the accusations against him,” Trump said in an email on Wednesday.
Trump’s comments come on the heels of reports from several outlets, including The New York Times (NYT) and CNN, who reported that the embattled Florida congressman asked White House aides for “blanket preemptive pardons” near the conclusion of Trump’s time in office.
Gaetz, a Republican who represents Florida’s 1st Congressional District, remains embroiled in a scandal involving allegations of potential sex trafficking. The firebrand conservative is under investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for allegedly having a sexual relationship with an underage girl in exchange for covering her expenses.
The investigation, first reported by The NYT last Wednesday, is said to be looking into whether Gaetz had a relationship with a 17-year-old, and whether or not he paid for her travel and accommodation, which may violate federal sex trafficking laws. Gaetz, one of the most well-known House Republicans and longtime ally of Trump, has categorically denied the allegations and instead pointed a finger at a former DOJ attorney whom he says was attempting to extort money from his family.
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