Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL), one of former President Donald J. Trump’s most vocal allies during his term, reportedly sought a blanket pre-emptive pardon from the White House during the final weeks of President Trump’s administration, a revelation that comes as the lawmaker finds himself the subject of a federal sex-trafficking investigation.
Around that time, Gaetz was also publicly calling for broad pardons from Trump to thwart what he termed the “bloodlust” of their political opponents.
“But Justice Department investigators had begun questioning 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,” The New York Times reported on Tuesday.
“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 Times said, quoting the people familiar said.
Aides told Trump about the request, but it’s unknown if Gaetz reached out to Trump personally.