: Rep. Matt Gaetz sought blanket pardon from Trump: report

United States

Rep. Matt Gaetz sought a blanket pardon for himself and others during the waning weeks of the Trump administration, the New York Times reported late Tuesday.

Citing two people familiar with the discussions, the Times reported Gaetz asked the White House for blanket pre-emptive pardons for himself and unidentified allies for any crimes they may have committed. The Times said it was unclear at the time whether Gaetz knew the Justice Department had already opened a probe into his actions.

The Florida Republican, long one of Trump’s staunchest supporters, is being investigated by the Justice Department over a former sexual relationship. The Times has previously reported authorities are trying to determine if Gaetz had an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old, and if he broke federal sex trafficking laws. Gaetz has denied criminal wrongdoing.

According to Tuesday’s report, the Times said White House lawyers and officials flatly rejected the pardon request. Then-President Donald Trump knew about the request, the Times said, though it was unclear if Gaetz asked him for the pardon directly.

Last week, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Gaetz would be removed from his House committee seats if the accusations were proven. Gaetz currently sits on the House Judiciary Committee, which oversees the Justice Department.