So! MATT GAETZ. If you haven't heard by now, then we are sorry about how a wizard trapped you in a cave ever since yesterday afternoon, and we're just glad you escaped and are now safe.

But anyway! MATT GAETZ.

The New York Times reported late Tuesday afternoon that Gaetz is under federal investigation for something involving underage girls and sex trafficking and who even knows what else. No, don't worry, as far as we know, Nestor is fine! (Allegedly.)

The Times says Gaetz is being investigated by the Department of Justice over "whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him," according to its sources. (He is 38 currently.) So that's potentially a very bad thing! Did he break the federal sex trafficking law? Did he take her across state lines? The feds take that VERY seriously!

Was #PizzaGate actually #PizzaGAETZ this whole time? (Don't laugh at that joke, we didn't make it up, Twitter did, and Twitter is NOT FUNNY.)

The report further says this investigation started last summer, during the previous presidential administration, in the DOJ led by Bill Fucking Barr, so no Deep State conspiracies here. It says it was such a big deal that high-up Trump administration people were notified of the existence of the investigation. New York Times reporter Katie Benner, who is bylined on the piece, reminded viewers on Maddow last night that Barr had instituted a rule that any case involving somebody who would be up for election last year would have to be personally approved by him, so assuming that was being enforced, Barr personally approved it.

And it says the investigation came about as a result of another investigation into a garbage human named Joel Greenberg, who's all buddy-buddy with Gaetz and also Roger Stone, hashtag best people.


You Need To Know Joel Greenberg Before Going Any Further.

Wonkette readers have met Greenberg before. He is a character!

Here's the big indictment of Greenberg from the Middle District of Florida, where he is charged with 1) sex trafficking of a child between 14 and 17; 2) stalking a political opponent; 3) aggravated identity theft; 4) SO MUCH MORE!

From May to November 2017, prosecutors said, Mr. Greenberg targeted the girl, who was between 14 and 17, saying he "recruited" and "solicited" her for sex acts in exchange for unspecified perks or favors.

Greenberg, who until last year was the Seminole County tax collector — oh yeah, this whole story is Florida Man shit — allegedly used the Florida databases he had available to him to create fake IDs for himself, and also for an underaged girl, but mostly for him we think.

The Washington Post explains more of that:

Investigators said they found several fake IDs inside Greenberg's home and accused the tax collector of improperly accessing a state database to access personal information of people he was in "sugar daddy" relationships with, including a minor victim between the ages of 14 and 17. Greenberg allegedly made the fake IDs to help "facilitate his efforts to engage in commercial sex acts," according to the indictment.

Ew.

When he became the tax collector in 2017, Greenberg reportedly gave $3.5 million in jobs and contracts to his buddies, some of whom were his groomsmen. He also spent $1.5 million of Not His Money on "guns, ammunition, body armor and a drone, as well as on computers for his own cryptocurrency venture," as the Times explains with a straight face about this very normal Florida man working as the county tax collector. Maybe Greenberg didn't know what "county tax collector" does and got it confused with something else.

There was also the time he pulled somebody over, flashing his county tax collector badge, and proceeded to yell at them for speeding.

And then there are headlines like this: "Seminole tax collector Joel Greenberg accused of plotting Bitcoin ransom scheme against his own office." And he really hates Muslims. Did we say hashtag best people yet?

More from the Times, explaining more about Greenberg's passel of indictments:

In his bid for re-election, Mr. Greenberg turned in late 2019 to clandestine tactics to undermine a possible rival, according to court papers. Prosecutors said he sent an anonymous letter to the school where one potential candidate worked that made unfounded accusations of sexual misconduct with a student and making similar claims on a fake Facebook account.

As the primary race intensified last summer, similar messaging began appearing on fake social media accounts that have been tied to Mr. Stone.

Totally normal.

There is so much more, but this post is about Matt Gaetz. Point is, Greenberg's trial is going to be in June of this year and he is currently in jail. As we heard several people point out on the TV last night, he might be wanting to flip to save his own ass, and if he has information on Rep. Matt Gaetz? Well then!

Let's talk about how Matt Gaetz has responded to this story.

You Have The Right To Remain Silent, Sir. Even Before A Cop Says That!

First, Gaetz told the Times this about the investigation, in which he claims he is a subject, and not a target:

"I only know that it has to do with women," Mr. Gaetz said. "I have a suspicion that someone is trying to recategorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward."

Matt Gaetz has a suspicion that someone is trying to recategorize his generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward. That sounds exactly like the kind of thing people would do to Matt Gaetz.

Then he got on the horn to Axios.

"The allegations against me are as searing as they are false," Gaetz said in a 13-minute phone interview with Axios. "I believe that there are people at the Department of Justice who are trying to criminalize my sexual conduct, you know when I was a single guy."

AS SEARING AS THEY ARE FALSE! Of course, Gaetz also told Axios the allegations against him are "unclear" and he knows "very little," but at the same time, AS SEARING AS THEY ARE FALSE! He then started screaming about an extortion plot, which he would do several more times over the course of the evening:

"They are rooted in an extortion effort against my family for $25 million … in exchange for making this case go away."

O ... K ...

He continued:

"I have definitely, in my single days, provided for women I've dated. You know, I've paid for flights, for hotel rooms. I've been, you know, generous as a partner. I think someone is trying to make that look criminal when it is not."

They're just trying to criminalize Matt Gaetz's generosity! That's what this is. And he is definitely sure none of the recipients of his largesse were under 18. Definitely.

Then he got on Twitter. We can only imagine this is about the point where any lawyers he might currently employ started screaming NONONONONOFUCKFUCKNOGODDAMMITFUCKNOSTOP!


When your dad is wearing a wire right now because of a totally real FBI op to catch criminals doing $25 million in extortion, it's always a good idea to blurt out on Twitter that your dad is wearing a wire right now. And to demand the FBI to RELEASE THE TRANSCRIPT!!1!!1TAPES!

Then he went on the Tucker Carlson show. Hoo boy, he went on Tucker. We just want you to fix yourself a morning drink, sit back, and watch this together with us, to really take it all in. You should know beforehand that after it was over, even Tucker was like wooooow, that was some weird shit.

Tucker admitted he didn't have "very informed questions" on it, which was handy, because Gaetz didn't have very informed answers.

What was your favorite part? Here are some highlights:

  • He said he was accused of traveling with a 17-year-old woman — interesting he'd refer to a 17-year-old child that way — and said it was "verifiably false."
  • He said it was an "extortion" of his family "by a former Department of Justice official." He explained that on March 16, this allegedly real person texted his dad to demand $25 million to make this investigation go away. And the FBI had his Daddy make a wire! And he did it!
  • He DEMANDED that the Department of Justice and the FBI RELEASE THE TRANSCRIPTTAPES!1!!1! We can only imagine it was because whatever was recorded by the wire was a perfect call.
  • He says his wired father was supposed to contact the former DOJ official today to do a $4.5 million "down payment on this bribe," but now he can't, because "the New York Times is leaking this information, smearing me, and ruining the investigation" that would TOTALLY EXONERATE him.
  • Tucker was like what?
  • Gaetz said the former DOJ guy was David McGee, who now works at the Beggs & Lane law firm, David McGee is the bad man.
  • He said McGee was demanding money to make the investigation "go away," and that McGee and his friends were promising that President Joe Biden would pardon him.

This is when Gaetz tried to bring Tucker down to his level and have some wrongfully accused cancel culture solidarity time with Tucker, and Tucker was like YEAH NO.

"I'm not the only person onscreen right now who's been falsely accused of a terrible sex act," said Gaetz. "YOU were accused of something that you did not do, so you know what this feels like!"

What? Tucker explained that a "mentally ill viewer" accused him of something "20 years ago" and he "had never met the person." You know what we have time to dig deeper into today? Not that. Point is, Tucker was not amused.

Tucker wanted to know more about what these searing and wrong allegations were. Gaetz seemingly wanted to make Tucker Carlson a witness in the investigation.

GAETZ: I can say that actually you and I went to dinner, about two years ago, your wife was there, I brought a friend of mine, you'll remember her, and she was actually threatened by the FBI, told that if she wouldn't cop to the fact that somehow I was involved in some pay-for-play scheme, that she could face trouble. And so I do believe that there are people at the Department of Justice who are trying to smear me!

After Gaetz's latest MyPillowGuy-grade word salad right there, Tucker responded, "I don't remember the woman you're speaking of or the context, honestly." Sorry, Matt. Tucker doesn't remember having dinner with you and your "friend."

Tucker asked again about the 17-year-old girl. Gaetz said she "doesn't exist." He says the allegation is "false, and records will bear that out to be false."

When did the investigation start? Gaetz said "I don't know." (Apparently last summer!)

When did Gaetz find out? AP says Gaetz has known for months, but he told Tucker that on March 16, he found out that "people were talking about a minor and that there were pictures of me with child prostitutes," at which point SCREEEEEEECH SLAM ON BRAKES!

Nobody had said anything about "child prostitutes."

So that was revelatory, maybe perhaps?

Tucker admitted that he still doesn't understand the story, but asked what's next. Gaetz said they were supposed to do the bribe with his wired daddy, but now they can't, and again demanded RELEASE TEH TRANSCRIPTTAPES!11111!!!1

Note that at no point did Matt Gaetz ever deny the existence of a sex trafficking investigation into him.

Here is Tucker afterward saying that was one of the "weirdest interviews I've ever conducted." If Tucker weren't such garbage, we might have sympathy.

WE HAVE QUESTIONS.

As do you and the feds, we are quite certain!

And we don't think we'll have many answers today, but maybe we will.

All we know is that all this caterwauling about "extortion" that supposedly started March 16 is in no way a denial of a sex trafficking investigation into Matt Gaetz that reportedly started last summer at Bill Barr's DOJ.

We are also confused how this McGee character, who doesn't actually work at the DOJ anymore, would be able to make the fake FBI investigation go away and also get Gaetz a pardon from Joe Biden. We hesitate to suggest this, but it's possible Matt Gaetz is simply making up shit.

The Washington Post caught up with McGee after Gaetz named him on national TV:

McGee disputed that he was part of any effort to extort Gaetz or that he was connected to the Justice Department's investigation of possible sex trafficking by the congressman. He said Gaetz's father had "called me and asked to talk to me," though McGee declined to say what the conversation entailed.

"It is completely false. It's a blatant attempt to distract from the fact that he's under investigation for sex trafficking of minors," McGee said, adding, "I have no connection with that case at all, other than, one of a thousand people who have heard the rumors."

"A thousand people who have heard the rumors." And now we are all part of that esteemed cohort!

In summary and in conclusion, in 2017, when Gaetz was a new congressman, he was the only person in all of Congress to vote against a human sex trafficking bill. The bill, in part, created a special committee at the Department of Transportation to focus on sex trafficking. Gaetz explained he was opposed to it because the creation of that committee was "mission creep."

Which, come to think of it, would probably be a good code name for an FBI investigation into Matt Gaetz.

This story only gonna get more batshit, y'all.

[New York Times / Axios / Washington Post / ibid.]

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Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the senior editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

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