Gaetzgate is getting worse. It was just a week ago that news broke about Matt Gaetz being under investigation for child sex trafficking.. Hours later, he did a completely bonkers interview on Tucker Carlson. Just 2 days after that, the New York Times published actual receipts showing evidence of payments to women using payment apps. Just one day after that, reports came out that Gaetz asked Trump for a blanket pardon. Today we have a report that he is under investigation for a trip he took to the Bahamas with a "marijuana entrepeneur" that may have involved sex trafficking, underage girls and paid escorts.
CBS reports that "federal investigators are looking into a Bahamas trip Matt Gaetz allegedly took in late 2018 or early 2019 as part of an inquiry into whether the Florida representative violated sex trafficking laws." Joining Gaetz on the trip was "marijuana entrepreneur" and hand surgeon, Jason Pirozzolo. Pirozzolo allegedly paid for the travel expenses, accommodations, and female escorts. Investigators are lookjing into whether the "escorts were illegally trafficked across state or international lines for the purpose of sex with the congressman."
Investigators are also looking into whether Gaetz accepted paid escorts in exchange for "political access or legislative favors" which is commonly known as pay-for-play. If there is evidence of that sort of arrangement, even informal, it is a federal crime.
Former federal prosecutor Arlo Devlin-Brown told CBS: "Traveling across state lines is what creates a federal hook for a prosecution. It doesn't matter that [Gaetz] personally paid them as long as he knows someone is doing that."
The DOJ and Pirozollo had no comment on the investigation.
Gaetz's office put out the following statement:
"Rep. Gaetz has never paid for sex, nor has he had sex with an underage girl. What began with blaring headlines about 'sex trafficking' has now turned into a general fishing exercise about vacations and consensual relationships with adults. Yesterday, we even learned of some nonsense 'pardon' story that turned out to be false, and today it's just more euphemism. It's interesting to watch the Washington wheels grinding so hard every time one of their falsehoods gets knocked down."
It is clear that Gaetz is following the Trump playbook - deny, deflect, double down.
Editor's note: Watch Glenn Kirschner explain why Gaetz's denials are likely to be lies in the video above.