Former President Donald Trump refuted a New York Times report that Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who's now embroiled in a controversial federal probe, had requested a "blanket pardon."
"Congressman Matt Gaetz has never asked me for a pardon," Trump wrote in a Wednesday statement. "It must also be remembered that he has totally denied the accusations against him."
The Times reported Tuesday that sources accused Gaetz of speaking to White House officials about a preemptive pardon from President Trump before he left office. The report claimed the aides had shared the request but did not know whether Gaetz spoke directly to Trump about it.
Gaetz has acknowledged he's been under investigation for an alleged relationship with a 17-year-old girl, including potential violations of sex trafficking laws after accusations that he paid for women to travel with him.
Gaetz has denied wrongdoing, contending the women he has dated are of legal age and any payments were also legal and made to cover travel for women he was dating.
Also, Gaetz has alleged an extortion attempt to bilk his family of $25 million, with a former Department of Justice official promising to make the allegations and investigation go away.
"I know there was a demand for money in exchange for a commitment he could make this investigation go away, along with his co-conspirators," Gaetz told Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight." "They even claim to have specific connections inside the Biden White House."
Gaetz contended the request for payment came with a "promise Joe Biden would pardon me."
"Obviously, I don't need a pardon," Gaetz told Carlson. "I'm not seeking a pardon. I have not done anything improper or wrong. But what I am troubled by is the real motivation for all of this."
The Times reported the allegations are potentially connected to former Florida county tax collector Joel Greenberg, who reportedly has flaunted ties to Gaetz as he awaits trial on federal charges of stalking, identity theft, wire fraud, bribery, theft of government property, conspiracy to bribe a public official, creating fake IDs, and sex trafficking of a minor.
Gaetz has also denied rumors he was planning to retire and take a job in the media before the investigations were reported by the Times.
"I have not had a relationship with a 17-year-old girl," Gaetz told Carlson. "That is false, and records will bear that out to be false.
"People were talking about a minor and that there were pictures of me with child prostitutes – that's obviously false. There will be no such pictures, because no such thing happened."
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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