Matt Gaetz questioned the head of the FBI in Congress despite himself being under investigation by the FBI

Gaetz
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) listens as FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies during a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on Capitol Hill June 10, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • Rep. Matt Gaetz questioned FBI Director Christopher Wray at a judiciary committee hearing Thursday.
  • The scene was unusual: Gaetz is himself under investigation by FBI over claims of sex trafficking.
  • Gaetz has retained his place on the panel despite calls for him to be removed.
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Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who is under investigation by the FBI, was in the unusual position Thursday of questioning the director of the agency, Christopher Wray, as part of congressional oversight hearings.

Gaetz is currently being investigated by FBI over allegations that he was involved in sex trafficking with a former tax official, Joel Greenberg.

He was able to participate because he is part of the he House Judiciary Committee, despite calls from Democrats for him to be removed in light of the allegations against him.

On Thursday Wray appeared before the committee and was questioned on several ongoing investigations by lawmakers including Gaetz.

Gaetz has strenuously denied the trafficking allegations, claiming that they are part of a plot against him.

On Thursday Gaetz questioned Wray about the FBI’s investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, an issue Republicans have seized on in recent weeks.

The claim was pushed by Donald Trump and allies in the early months of the pandemic, but was initially dismissed by the World Health Organization and experts. In recent months it has gained renewed credibility.

“I have to be careful not to discuss specific investigations,” Wray replied. He continued: “There are differences of view within the intelligence community about the origins of the coronavirus and we’re taking a deeper dive on that subject.”

In April Rep. Ted Lieu, a Democrat and fellow judiciary committee member, said Gaetz should be removed from the panel after it emerged that he was under investigation.

Lieu said his continued presence violated conflict-of-interest rules. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said removal should come at a later point, if the allegations against him are shown to be true.

Insider has contacted Gaetz’ office for comment.

Gaetz also faces a separate House Ethics Committee probe into allegations that he engaged in sexual misconduct and illicit drugs use, and shared explicit images of women on the House floor.

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House committee approves a bill to study reparations for Black Americans for the first time since it was introduced 32 years ago

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Tex., who introduced H.R. 40, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Judiciary Committee chairman, at a news conference at the Capitol on Wednesday, March 17, 2021.

  • A House committee approved a bill Wednesday to study reparations for descendants of enslaved people.
  • First introduced in 1989, the bill will now head to the full House for a vote for the first time.
  • The bill passed the committee without any Republican votes and faces an uphill battle in Congress.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill on Wednesday that would establish a commission to study providing Black Americans with reparations for slavery. The legislation will receive a full House vote for the first time since it was introduced more than three decades ago.

The legislation, H.R. 40, was first introduced in 1989, but Wednesday was the first time the House Judiciary Committee had voted on the legislation, The Associated Press reported.

The bill, which passed the committee despite opposition from Republicans, would establish a 13-person commission to study the effects of slavery and discrimination in the US, and then submit its findings and recommend to Congress “appropriate remedies” for the descendants of enslaved Americans.

Read more: It’s now or never for Democrats: either pass H.R. 1 or watch voter suppression bills like Georgia’s become the norm

“This legislation is long overdue,” said Democrat Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the committee chairman, according to the AP. “H.R. 40 is intended to begin a national conversation about how to confront the brutal mistreatment of African Americans during chattel slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and the enduring structural racism that remains endemic to our society today.”

The bill was introduced by Democrat Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee. No Republicans on the committee voted in favor of the bill, which is co-sponsored by 176 representatives, all Democrats.

In his criticism of the bill, Republican Rep. Jim Jordan said it would “spend $20 million for a commission that’s already decided to take money from people who were never involved in the evil of slavery and give it to people who are never subject to the evil of slavery,” ABC reported.

The bill faces an uphill battle in Congress, especially in the Senate where it would require 60 votes in the 50-50 split chamber, AP reported.

Reparations gained renewed traction last year after a summer of protests against racial injustice. President Joe Biden has also said he supports Congress studying the issue. Andre Perry, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Insider’s Bre’Anna Grant that he’s “more hopeful than ever” for reparations since Biden took office.

Perry said that while “executive actions are rarely ever enough, they are a start to allocate and shift resources to address the issue.”

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

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GOP lawmakers cite ‘Free Britney’ movement to request a congressional hearing on court-mandated conservatorships

Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan
Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, left, and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, right.

  • Two GOP congressmen requested a congressional hearing on court-mandated conservatorships.
  • Reps. Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz cited the “Free Britney” movement in a letter on Tuesday.
  • Spears’ circumstances suggest “questionable motives and legal tactics” by her father, they said.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Two Republican congressmen on the House Judiciary Committee asked the panel’s Democratic chairman, Rep. Jerry Nadler, to hold a hearing on court-ordered conservatorships, citing the “Free Britney” movement.

The movement refers to the singer Britney Spears, who was the subject of The New York Times documentary, “Framing Britney Spears.” The film is streamed on Hulu and examines the pop star’s 13-year fight for control of her estate after a court placed her under a conservatorship, essentially stripping her of the right to her own fortune and placing it in Spears’ father’s control.

“In recent years, there has been growing public concern about the use of conservatorships to effectively deprive individuals of personal freedoms at the behest of others through the manipulation of the courts,” the letter from Reps. Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz said. “A project funded by the US Department of Justice to examine conservator exploitation found that ‘financial exploitation by conservators often goes unchecked by courts’ and there is a ‘dire need for guardianship/conservatorship reform.'”

The letter went on to note that the American Civil Liberties Union recently said conservatorships “should be viewed with skepticism and used as a last resort,” but that in most cases, they’re imposed “routinely and without substantive engagement.”

The practice paves the way for individuals to be “stripped of virtually all of their civil rights through guardianships and conservatorships,” the ACLU said, and reforms should be implemented so these individuals can “direct their own lives.”

“The most striking example is perhaps the case of multi-platinum performing artist Britney Spears,” Jordan and Gaetz’s letter said, adding that “since 2008, Ms. Spears has been under a court-ordered conservatorship.”

“The facts and circumstances giving rise to this arrangement remain in dispute but involve questionable motives and legal tactics by her father and now-conservator, Jamie Spears,” it continued. The letter also cited Daniel Gross, a Long Island resident who was involuntarily placed under a conservatorship and kept in a nursing home for 10 months before being released in 2006.

“In what the judge labeled as ‘a terrible miscarriage of justice,’ Mr. Gross was locked in a Connecticut nursing home for 10 months despite his pleas for release,” Jordan and Gaetz’s letter said. “Given the constitutional freedoms at stake and opaqueness of these arrangements, it is incumbent upon our Committee to convene a hearing to examine whether Americans are trapped unjustly in conservatorships.”

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House Judiciary impeachment report says Trump provoked a ‘terrorist attack,’ portraying the president as an ongoing ‘risk’ to America

trump us capitol siege
Trump supporters gather outside the U.S. Capitol building following a “Stop the Steal” rally on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday issued its report in support of President Donald Trump’s impeachment over the Capitol siege.
  • The report unequivocally blamed Trump for the violence at the Capitol on January 6, and portrayed the president as an ongoing risk to the US. 
  • “The House must impeach President Trump to make clear for all future officeholders that our Constitution rejects President Trump’s behavior,” the report said.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The House Judiciary Committee issued an impeachment report on Tuesday saying it is “indisputable” that President Donald Trump “encouraged – and that his actions foreseeably resulted in – the terrorist attack that occurred.”

The report, which refers to the deadly Capitol insurrection on January 6, painted Trump as an ongoing “risk” to the US, even with his presidency set to end in just over a week. 

“Trump’s incitement of mob violence against the Capitol is clearly part of a broader pattern of encouraging lawless behavior and official action where it serves to aggrandize his own power,” the report said. “Especially in light of the accelerating pace of these events as the end of President Trump’s term comes to a close, the risk that that pattern will continue and repeat itself even in the final days of his administration is great.”

The conclusion of the report underscored the need to impeach Trump to send a message to all future presidents that the behavior he’s exhibited – from refusing to concede to President-elect Joe Biden to inciting a violent insurrection – will not be tolerated. 

“The House must impeach President Trump to make clear for all future officeholders that our Constitution rejects President Trump’s behavior,” the report stated. “Even wrongly assuming that President Trump poses no ongoing threat, impeachment sends the strongest possible message that, as John Adams said, we are a ‘government of laws, and not of men.'”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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