On Wednesday, President Donald Trump released a statement completely debunking a story dropped by the New York Times where they claimed Congressman Matt Gaetz had asked him for a pardon.
The Times tried linking the alleged pardon request to the Justice Department’s investigation into Gaetz over an alleged relationship with a 17-year old.
The New York Times reports:
In the final weeks of Mr. Trump’s term, Mr. Gaetz sought something in return. He privately asked the White House for blanket pre-emptive pardons for himself and unidentified congressional allies for any crimes they may have committed, according to two people told of the discussions.
Around that time, Mr. Gaetz was also publicly calling for broad pardons from Mr. Trump to thwart what he termed the “bloodlust” of their political opponents. But Justice Department investigators had begun questioning Mr. Gaetz’s associates about his conduct, including whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old that violated sex trafficking laws, in an inquiry that grew out of the case of an indicted associate in Florida.
It was unclear whether Mr. Gaetz or the White House knew at the time about the inquiry, or who else he sought pardons for. Mr. Gaetz did not tell White House aides that he was under investigation for potential sex trafficking violations when he made the request. But top White House lawyers and officials viewed the request for a pre-emptive pardon as a nonstarter that would set a bad precedent, the people said.
On Wednesday, Trump completely debunked this claim from the New York Times, stating that Gaetz had never asked for a pardon.
“Congressman Matt Gaetz has never asked me for a pardon,” the former President said in a press release. “It must also be remembered that he has totally denied the accusations against him.”
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) April 7, 2021
Gaetz has strongly denied all allegations against him despite the media’s effort to get him out of office and is also denying the pardon request.
“The recent false allegations against me are not something I’ve ever discussed with Trump, pardons or otherwise,” he said to Politico.