The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag:

Federal Agents Seized Smartphones Owned By Gaetz And Girlfriend

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Federal agents investigating Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz for possibly underaged sex trafficking and for a possible sexual relationship with an underaged girl were able to get a federal judge to sign off on a search warrant and execute that warrant, seizing his iPhone late last year.

"Gaetz's predicament as the subject of a serious investigation became clearer this winter when federal agents executed a search warrant and seized his iPhone, Politico reports, "according to interviews with three people who were told of the matter by Gaetz, who changed his phone number in late December."

"Around that time, the sources said, federal agents also seized his former girlfriend's phone before she went into work at a state agency in the morning. She declined comment."

It may not be unprecedented but it is extremely unusual for a sitting member of Congress to be served with a search warrant for a highly sensitive item like a cell phone.

Politico also details Gaetz's 2018 trip to the Bahamas, where he "was joined by two GOP allies: Halsey Beshears, then a state legislator, and Jason Pirozzolo, a hand surgeon and Republican fundraiser for DeSantis, according to three sources, including one who was part of the group."

"Also among those on the trip: the former minor who is key to the investigation, whose presence on the trip was previously unreported. According to one of the women in the group who spoke on condition of anonymity, everyone on the trip was over the age of 18 — including the woman in question, who had turned 18 years old months before the trip, she said."

"No one on the trip engaged in prostitution, the source said," Politico adds.

Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing and as previously reported has obtained two high-powered attorneys.

#EndorseThis: Seth Meyers Smirks As Gaetz 'Snubbed' By His 'Idol' Trump

As the investigation of Rep. Matt Gaetz's heinous career continues, more and more of his former allies can't stomach -- or just don't want to be associated-- with the Florida Congressman. The latest indignity: Gaetz has been "snubbed" by the former guy, his "political idol."

Seth Meyers takes "A Closer Look," dishing out too many Trump and Gaetz burns to count.

Meyers was at the top of his game. Check it out!

MAGA Congressman Matt Gaetz Snubbed by Trump Amid Growing Scandals: A Closer Look www.youtube.com

Report: Chat Logs Show Greenberg ‘In A Panic’ Over FBI Investigation

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Unlike his ally Joel Greenberg — the Florida county tax collector who is facing federal sex trafficking charges — Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida hasn't yet been charged with federal crimes. Gaetz has vehemently denied suggestions that he was sexually involved with a 17-year-old girl, but that possibility is reported to be investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice. And a WhatsApp chat from August 14, 2020 that Politico has obtained information on sheds some light on the charges that Greenberg is facing.

According to Politico reporters Marc Caputo, Josh Gerstein, and Matt Dixon, Greenberg was part of that WhatsApp chat along with a Republican ally and was "in a panic" because he knew that "the feds were closing in."

"The Florida county tax collector was five days away from a federal indictment for sex trafficking involving a 17-year-old — the same one Gaetz is now being investigated over," the Politico reporters explain. "So, Greenberg reached out to mutual friends on August 14 last year and tried to enlist them in his defense, according to a WhatsApp chat shared with federal investigators and obtained by Politico."

In those WhatsApp messages, according to Caputo, Gerstein, and Dixon, Greenberg "fumed that the prosecutor should be fired. He suspected that a political consultant 'was the rat here'…. Greenberg also said he was paying the legal fees for the woman, who is now 20 years old."

Greenberg, the reporters note, "even went so far as to push Gaetz to use his influence with" then-President Donald Trump "for a pardon, according to two sources familiar with the discussions — including one who heard Greenberg say it repeatedly."

But Gaetz, according to Caputo, Gerstein and Dixon, has said that he didn't ask Trump to pardon Greenberg.

In that August 14, 2020 WhatsApp chat, Greenberg communicated with a Republican who the Politico reporters describe as "politically influential" and a "mutual friend" of Greenberg and Gaetz. That person discussed the chat with Politico, saying that Greenberg referred to the 17-year-old girl — who is an adult now — as "Vintage 99" during the chat.

Greenberg wrote, "I'm having to pay for vintage 99 to retain (a) lawyer. They (federal agents) contacted her and are wanting her to talk. She doesn't want to talk to them."

Caputo, Gerstein and Dixon note that "Vintage 99" does not want to talk to the media either, adding, "She blocked a Politico reporter on social media and her iPhone after she was called and texted to discuss the case Monday. Her attorney couldn't be reached. Politico is withholding her name because she is the alleged victim of a sex crime."

Gaetz Vows He’s ‘Absolutely Not Resigning’ Despite GOP Pressure

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

As the scandal around Rep. Matt Gaetz grows, the Florida Republican Congressman is trying to push back, with a former staffer holding a press event during which he admits he has no evidence that Gaetz is innocent -- and Gaetz himself publishing an op-ed in a right wing media outlet promising to not resign.

"I am absolutely not resigning," Gaetz says in the Washington Examiner, insisting the calls for him to call it quits are hypocritical and pushback because he "decided to take on the most powerful institutions in the Beltway."

He insists he's not guilty of a few very specific allegations: "I have never, ever paid for sex. And second, I, as an adult man, have not slept with a 17-year-old."

And in very typical MAGA mode, Gaetz told his supporters, "They aren't coming for me — they are coming for you. I'm just in the way."

Meanwhile, in a curious twist, Republican leadership has announced they will call for Gaetz to resign, but only if he's indicted, and they won't wait for Democrats to demand he step down, MSNBC's Kyle Griffin says, citing Punchbowl News.Democrats are putting pressure on Gaetz and the Republican leadership.

"If in fact these allegations are true, of course being removed from the Judiciary Committee is the least that could be done," Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters late last week, the AP reports, noting that "Pelosi's comments fell short of the swift removal from the Judiciary Committee sought by at least one Democratic lawmaker."

The Speaker added: "From what we've heard so far, this would be a matter for the Ethics Committee."

And Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu of California last week tweeted to House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, "You don't seem to get it. If it's true Rep Matt Gaetz engaged in sex trafficking, he needs to resign and be prosecuted. In the meantime, you can't have Gaetz sitting on the Congressional Committee that has oversight over the Department that is investigating him."