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Rep. Adam Kinziger, left, and Rep. Matt Gaetz

Photo (left) by Hudson Institute is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Photo (right) by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) became the first Republican member of Congress to call for the resignation of Matt Gaetz, the embattled Florida GOP Congressman ensnared in a federal sex trafficking investigation.

"Matt Gaetz needs to resign," Kinzinger said in a tweet Thursday night.

The tweet included a link to a Daily Beast report, which said Gaetz sent a friend $900 through Venmo, with the direction to "hit up" a young woman who had just turned 18. The friend was accused sex trafficker Joel Greenberg. Transactions totaling $900 were then sent from Greenberg to three separate women, including the teenager.

Greenberg, the former Seminole County tax collector, has been charged with nearly three dozen counts of child sex trafficking, bribery, stalking, and fraud.

On Thursday, Greenberg's lawyer said he's expected to plead guilty and cooperate in the investigation — which Gaetz is ensnared in.

"I'm sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today," Fritz Scheller, Greenberg's attorney, said.

Gaetz is under federal investigation into whether a sexual relationship he had with a 17-year-old girl also ran afoul of child sex trafficking laws, as he allegedly paid for the girl to travel with him across state lines, according to a New York Times report.

Gaetz has denied the allegations, and is trying to defend himself against the probe.

On Thursday, his office distributed a letter from "the Women of U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz's Office," which said they "stand with him" amid the probe. However, not one woman signed their name to the letter.

While Kinzinger is the first Republican House member to call for Gaetz's resignation, few other GOP lawmakers have come to Gaetz's defense.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reported that before Donald Trump left office, Gaetz asked the White House for a blanket pardon — which was denied.

Gaetz was a major defender of Trump during his time in office, with Gaetz once saying that he felt his sole purpose in Congress was to protect the former commander in chief.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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