According to a report from the Daily Beast, the first defense that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) offered when accused of sex trafficking is already falling apart as investigators look into his claims.
As the Beast’s Roger Sollenberger reports, the embattled Florida Republican started off his defense on Fox News, telling host Tucker Carlson, “It is a horrible allegation, and it is a lie,” before adding, “The New York Times is running a story that I have traveled with a 17-year-old woman, and that is verifiably false. People can look at my travel records and see that that is not the case.”
However, according to Jordan Libowitz, communications director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Gaet’z’s travel records offer him no help with his defense.
“The spending surrounding the Gaetz campaign simply doesn’t say what he wants it to say,” Libowitz explained before adding, “One, the reports don’t offer specific information; and two, it’s not clear whether he’s even saying that his campaign filings will exonerate him. If he’s paying out of pocket, we won’t know the answers without a subpoena.”
In fact, as Sollenberger reports, an examination of the Florida Republican’s travel records raise even more questions — particularly about his relationship with a friend already under investigation by authorities.
“As Gaetz knows, his campaign filings don’t have any sort of information that would prove he never participated in a sex ring or paid for the travel of an underage minor. What his filings do show, though, is that Gaetz had a close relationship with Joel Greenberg—the Seminole County tax collector indicted on sex trafficking charges.” the report states before noting a controversial visit the two made to a state office on a weekend, reportedly to get a new drivers license or ID for Gaetz.
Noting that the GOP lawmaker is not a resident of Seminole County, the report adds, “Gaetz isn’t a Seminole County resident. The first information on the county’s drivers license website says the office ‘will process only ‘Seminole County Residents’ for ALL Driver License or ID Card services. No exceptions will be made.’ The site tells applicants that if they can’t produce proof of residency, ‘a ticket for driver license or ID card services will NOT be serviced.'”
According to Libowitz, “It makes sense if he had to pick up the ID. But I don’t know why a sitting congressman wouldn’t be able to do that on his own, in his own county, and why he’d have to get a friend to do it for him.”
He added about Gaetz’s travel filings, “You can only use campaign funds for efforts that go towards an election. So under the theory that he went to Orlando to get a license unlawfully, he would have a tough case to make—that it’s appropriate to use your campaign to get around state law. And that would be a stretch.”
Brendan Fischer, director of federal reform at government watchdog the Campaign Legal Center, concurred, telling the Beast, “This is something the FEC should catch. It’s tough to tell on the face who was traveling and for what purpose. So it can be really hard just from a public report to tell the difference between a legit expense and personal use of funds.”
You can read more here.
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Brothers of White Nationalist Congressman Apologize for His False Claim Insurrectionist Was ‘Executed’ by Police
Two brothers of U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) went on national TV Thursday to apologize for his accusation this week that Capitol Police were “lying in wait” and “executed” a Trump insurrectionist, 35-year old QAnon believer Ashli Babbitt, on January 6.
“On behalf of the actual sane members of our family, which is everyone but Paul, we apologize,” they said on CNN, to D.C. Officer Michael Fanone for their brother’s “despicable comments and disgraceful conduct through this whole incident.”
On Tuesday during a hearing on the January 6 insurrection Gosar, a white nationalist, demanded FBI Director Chris Wray release the name of the officer who killed Babbitt. Babbitt was attempting to break into the Speaker’s Lobby, a hallway in the Capitol just outside the House Chamber.
Calling her killing “disturbing,” Gosar told Wray in front of cameras that Babbitt was “executed,” which is false.
“The Capitol Police officer that did that shooting appeared to be hiding, lying in wait and then gave no warning before killing her,” which is also false.
Gosar is one of the leading members of Congress who have promoted Donald Trump’s “big lie,” that the election was stolen from him.
David Gosar, embarrassed brother of Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ):
“On behalf of the actual sane members of our family, which is everyone but Paul, we apologize … to [D.C. Officer Fanone] for his despicable comments and disgraceful conduct through this whole incident.” pic.twitter.com/2mnrRpiiUu
— The Recount (@therecount) June 17, 2021
Watching Biden Meet Putin Was ‘The Real Moment’ Trump Realized He Wasn’t President Anymore: NYT’s Haberman
New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman told CNN on Thursday that former President Donald Trump seems to be finally accepting that he’s no longer president six months after leaving office.
In particular, Haberman said that Trump and his allies came to grips with this fact while watching President Joe Biden meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Switzerland this week.
“This is the event that underscored for people around Trump and the former president himself the fact that he’s not president anymore,” she said. “This was the kind of event on the world stage, getting enormous attention, that he really enjoyed, that he saw as one of the trappings of the office that he thought spoke to a sense of power and strength… it was the real moment of, ‘Oh, someone else is president and not Donald Trump.'”
Host John Berman noted that Trump this week has seemed particularly needy for positive affirmation.
“His organization sent an email around yesterday telling everybody he’s more popular than ever before, he’s the leader of the Republican Party,” Berman said. “It really seems to matter to him.”
Watch the video below.
GOP Congressman Refuses to Shake Hand of Cop Who Saved His Neck on January 6
Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone was one of 140 law enforcement officers injured protecting the U.S. Capitol and members of Congress on January 6. He was so badly beaten he suffered a heart attack fighting Trump’s insurrectionists but he was conscious enough to hear at one point the rioters scream, “Kill him with his own gun!”
On Wednesday, one day after 21 House Republicans voted against a bill to award Congressional gold medals to all the police officers who fought to save lives and democracy on January 6, Officer Fanone was in the U.S. Capitol, and ran into Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA).
Congressman Clyde, who sits on the Homeland Security Committee and is one of the 21 who voted against the awards, refused to even shake Officer Fanone’s hand.
Clyde is the lawmaker who falsely compared the rioters and insurrectionists to a “normal tourist visit.”
U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) took to Twitter to make the accusation, which was backed up by Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican.
I just called Officer Fanone and confirmed this story. This is really incredible. Also relayed an interaction he had with another members Chief of Staff that was really incredibly bad and disrespectful. https://t.co/fERYjK6dWg
— Adam Kinzinger (@AdamKinzinger) June 16, 2021
Here’s video of Officer Fanone being attacked by Trump’s insurrectionists:
Officer Michael Fanone could have died on January 6. He was sprayed with chemicals, tased several times, and even beaten with an American flag.
To the politicians who have since downplayed the Capitol attack, Officer Fanone would like a word. pic.twitter.com/2in0rDk8tY
— The Recount (@therecount) April 28, 2021
Here’s Congressman Clyde literally barricading the door on Jan. 6, with members of the Capitol Hill Police:
Here's Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) helping Capitol Police barricade a door on Jan. 6 during what he would later call a “normal tourist visit.” pic.twitter.com/BJ8WYDu5zn
— Michael Donnelly (@Doneli) June 15, 2021
Here’s Clyde outright lying:
Rep Andrew Clyde (R-GA) sells a real whopper at the US House hearing today about Jan 6 insurrection: "The House Floor was never breached and it was not an insurrection..there was an undisciplined the mob…to call it an insurrection…is a bold-faced lie." pic.twitter.com/cRcWKg859g
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) May 12, 2021
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