Gaetz and Trump rep challenge report that the Florida congressman was denied a meeting with the former president

Matt Gaetz
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., is seen during a break in the House Judiciary Committee hearing on policing practices and law enforcement accountability in the Capitol Visitor Center on Wednesday, June 10, 2020.

  • GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz was reportedly denied a meeting with Trump, CNN reported.
  • Gaetz called the report false and said he never sought out a meeting with the former president.
  • The DOJ is currently investigating whether Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws.
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GOP Congressman Matt Gaetz, who is facing federal sex trafficking allegations, was reportedly denied a meeting with Donald Trump as aides try to distance the former president from him, CNN reported.

Two anonymous sources who were familiar with the situation told the outlet that the Florida congressman tried to schedule a visit to Mar-a-Lago this week but was denied.

Following CNN’s report, Gaetz took to Twitter to say he never asked for a meeting.

“This is a total lie. I am on a pre-planned vacation with my fiancĂ©e. I was welcomed at Trump Doral days ago,” Gaetz said in a tweet. “No such meeting was denied nor sought. Gabby, “unnamed sources” lied. When can we expect a retraction?”

Trump spokesman Jason Miller also said no meeting was ever sought.

“This @CNN story is complete fake news. No such scheduling or meeting request was ever made, and therefore, it could never have been declined. Take note that this story has zero on-the-record sources. It’s literally made-up. We are demanding a full retraction. #FakeNews,” Miller said in a tweet.

The Justice Department is investigating whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and violated federal sex trafficking laws. There have been a number of new developments in the two weeks since news of the investigation was first revealed.

Gaetz, whose office issued a statement saying he “has never paid for sex,” allegedly sent $900 to political ally Joel Greenberg, who was previously indicted on sex trafficking charges. Greenberg then sent the money to three women via payment apps.

The House Ethics Committee has opened a bipartisan investigation into the allegations against Gaetz. He has been accused of sexual misconduct, illicit drug use, and sharing nude images on the House floor.

Trump was reportedly talked out of defending Gaetz by his aides as allegations surfaced and has remained silent on the issue. He has, however, denied reports that Gaetz ever asked for a blanket pardon from him before he left office.

Gaetz’s office did not reply to Insider’s email request for comment.

Have a news tip? Contact this reporter at salarshani@insider.com

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‘I’m not going anywhere’: Matt Gaetz defiant in Florida speech after House Ethics Committee opens investigation

Matt Gaetz
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., speaks to reporters outside a closed-door meeting where Catherine Croft, a State Department adviser on Ukraine, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper testify as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019.

  • Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida was defiant in his attempt to remain in office during a Friday speech.
  • Gaetz currently faces investigations by the US Department of Justice and the House Ethics Committee.
  • “I’m built for the battle, and I’m not going anywhere,” he said.
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GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida on Friday was defiant in his attempt to remain in office, brushing aside the damaging set of developments surrounding a federal sex trafficking investigation that has unfolded in the media over the course of nearly two weeks.

While attending the “Save America Summit,” part of a four-day conference at the Trump National Doral resort in Miami, Gaetz, who was billed as the keynote speaker for the event, said he was here to stay, according to The Daily Beast.

“This past week has been full of encouragement,” he told the group of attendees. “The smears against me range from distortions of my personal life, to wild conspiracy theories. I won’t be intimidated by a lying media, and I won’t be extorted by a former DOJ [Department of Justice] official and the crooks he is working with.”

He added: “The truth will prevail.”

Gaetz has denied that he paid women for sex – including, potentially, an underage girl – blaming the media for amplifying the allegations against him.

“I’m built for the battle, and I’m not going anywhere,” he said.

Women for America First, the group that organized the conference, advertised Gaetz’s appearance by calling him “a fearless leader in DC” who stood up for former President Donald Trump’s “America First Agenda.”

In his speech on Friday, Gaetz, who was one of Trump’s staunchest defenders in Congress, contended that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from the former president.

Read more: Visa’s PAC gave politicians $139,000 in March after vowing to pause contributions because of the Capitol insurrection

But even Gaetz wrapping himself around the Trump legacy could not curtail the swirl of controversies that awaited him outside the resort.

On Friday, the House Ethics Committee announced that they were opening a bipartisan investigation into allegations against Gaetz of sexual misconduct, illicit drug use, and the sharing of nude images on the House floor.

Trump was urged by advisors not to publicly back Gaetz until more was known about the allegations of sex with an underage girl, according to The Daily Beast.

When the former president issued a statement regarding Gaetz this week, he refuted a report that the congressman had asked for a blanket pardon.

“Congressman Matt Gaetz has never asked me for a pardon,” Trump said in a statement. “It must also be remembered that he has totally denied the accusations against him.”

Many Republicans and conservative media figures have been quiet about Gaetz in the wake of the allegations, especially after a widely panned March appearance on Fox’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that the host himself said was “one of the weirdest interviews” that he’s ever done.

According to The Daily Beast, out of 16 top Trump administration officials contacted by the publication, none would back Gaetz on the record.

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The federal sex trafficking probe into Rep. Matt Gaetz is looking at trips he took to the Bahamas, CBS News says

Matt Gaetz
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., takes a question from reporters outside a closed door meeting where Catherine Croft, a State Department adviser on Ukraine, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper testify as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019.

The Justice Department investigation into whether Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz broke federal sex trafficking laws is reportedly zeroing in on a series of trips Gaetz took to the Bahamas in 2018 and 2019 with a marijuana entrepreneur, according to CBS News.

Sources who spoke with CBS News said that Gaetz was joined by weed businessman and hand surgeon Jason Pirozzolo on his trips to the Bahamas, and that Pirozzolo paid for flights, hotels, and female escorts.

Investigators are reportedly looking at whether women were trafficked across state and international lines during those trips with Gaetz.

In a statement to CBS News, Gaetz’s office said: “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.”

Insider reached out to Gaetz’s office for comment.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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A former Gaetz adviser said sex-trafficking allegations are ‘baseless’ but gave no evidence and said he hasn’t spoken to the congressman in months

Matt Gaetz
CHEYENNE, WY – JANUARY 28: Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) holds a phone to the microphone as Donald Trump Jr. speaks remotely to a crowd during a rally against Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) on January 28, 2021 in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Gaetz and Trump Jr. added their voices to a growing effort to vote Cheney out of office after she voted in favor of impeaching Donald Trump.

  • A former aide for Rep. Matt Gaetz said the sex trafficking allegations against him were “baseless.”
  • Nathaniel Nelson did not provide any evidence and also said he hadn’t spoken to Gaetz in months.
  • The DOJ is investigating whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl in 2019.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

During a press conference on Monday, a former adviser for GOP rep. Matt Gaetz said sex-trafficking allegations surrounding the congressman are baseless but said he hadn’t spoken with Gaetz in months.

Former Air Force Capt. Nathaniel Nelson, who served as Gaetz’s director of military affairs, said he was contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shortly after news broke that the Department of Justice was investigating whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl in 2019 and broke federal sex-trafficking laws.

Nelson said he was questioned about whether or not he knew of Gaetz’s activity after members of the media tipped off the FBI that Nelson may have resigned because he knew about illegal activities.

“I’m here to state this morning that nothing could be further from the truth,” Nelson said at the press conference in front of his home. “Neither I, nor any other member of Congressman Gaetz’s staff had any knowledge of illegal activities.”

Nelson also said the allegations were “baseless.”

“This baseless claim against me leaves me further convinced that the allegations against Congressman Gaetz are likewise fabricated,” he said.

Nelson said he already had pre-arranged plans to leave Gaetz in October 2020 to enter the private sector. However, the former aide did not provide any evidence against the allegations.

“I’m not here to provide any degree of evidence in support of Congressman Gaetz, only to discredit these baseless allegations,” he said. “I don’t have any specific knowledge on the investigation or any of the facts that are involved with the investigation.”

He also added that he hasn’t spoken with Gaetz for some time. “You know, I haven’t had the opportunity to speak to Congressman Gaetz in several months,” Nelson said.

In response to reports on Nelson’s FBI questioning, Gaetz said on Twitter: “The FBI is literally running down false media rumors. They are investigating people, not crimes.”

Gaetz’s office did not reply to Insider’s request for comment.

Have a news tip? Contact this reporter at salarshani@insider.com

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