According to a report from Business Insider, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is being kept at arm's length by a substantial number of his Republican colleagues as the investigation into allegations he engaged in sex trafficking appears to be coming to an end.
Two weeks ago it was reported that his former girlfriend was granted immunity before testifying before a Florida grand jury which led former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance to caution, "It's never a good sign for the target when a key witness gets immunity to testify in front of the grand jury."
According to Kimberly Leonard, Camila DeChalus, and Bryan Metzger of Business Insider, "Most Republicans are neither embracing nor condemning scandal-ridden Rep. Matt Gaetz. Yet they may soon face a decision day — one they've been happy to avoid, since Gaetz is one of former President Donald Trump's most vocal defenders — and some Republicans are quietly preparing for the real possibility that federal officials will charge the Florida Republican with crimes."
As to why they have refrained from any negative comments about the Florida Republican, Luis Alvarado, a Republican political strategist explained, "Matt Gaetz is still a poster boy for Trumpism. And if you deny that, then a question arises whether you're still part of that movement."
Instead, the report notes, his colleagues -- with the exception of equally controversial Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) -- have sidelined him, including not asking him to be a co-sponsor on a bill to legalize cannabis written by Republicans despite the fact that he is a vocal proponent of legalization.
According to Insider, "Asked about Gaetz's omission from the bill, a cannabis-industry source who spoke on condition of anonymity cited the DOJ investigation," saying, "It has been more difficult for him to lead legislative efforts because of the associated issues."
The report continues, "It shows that while Gaetz still has friends in Congress, even his allies are quietly isolating him — or at least not going out of their way to work with him," before adding, "Some Republicans, who have never much cared for Gaetz since he entered Congress in 2018, have been privately sneering at him in the months since his legal woes began, Insider previously reported. Other Republicans have given donations from Gaetz's campaign committee, called Friends of Matt Gaetz, to charity, according to Federal Election Commission records."
As for Gaetz's future, should he be indicted, one Justice Department official predicted he will still have one defender: Donald Trump.
"Gaetz is almost as toxic as Marjorie Taylor Greene," the official remarked. "However, Trump's associates are often slimy or controversial and it doesn't seem to impact his supporters."
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'As corrupt as it comes': Damning evidence puts Trump at risk in quickly moving criminal investigation
MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski said the audio from Donald Trump's call to Georgia election officials never loses its power to shock.
In fact, the "Morning Joe" co-host said, the recording -- which is now a key piece of evidence that will be heard by a grand jury -- has only gotten worse with time.
"The investigation into whether or not President Trump tried to overturn his defeat in that state -- spoiler alert, he did, so I think we got that," said panelist Jonathan Lemire. "That phone call obviously is going to be the center of this. He hits the specific vote total that he needed to overturn the result, he's leaning on a fellow Republican, secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, there. A lot of legal experts have suggested that this case poses more legal peril to him than some of the others circulating, those in New York, there's an indication Washington, D.C. might investigate his words leading up to the insurrection."
"This is something to watch carefully," he added. "The next step will be subpoenas, whether or not Trump himself or those around him, some of the aides in the White House that day, including Mark Meadows, maybe they will get them, will they be forced to testify? That we will find out in the spring."
The evidence shows Trump tried to get losing results overturned in a number of states, but Brzezinski said nothing has emerged that's quite as egregious as the Georgia call.
"You know, that phone call gets worse with time, if it's possible," she said. "I mean, it was bad when we first heard it, but hearing him say, you know, you can simply say that you recalculated -- I mean, my God, as corrupt as it comes."
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London's police chief on Tuesday said her officers are investigating several parties that took place at Prime Minister Boris Johnson's office and government departments during Covid lockdowns.
"The Met is now investigating a number of events that took place at Downing Street and Whitehall in the last two years in relation to potential breaches of Covid-19 regulations," Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick told the London Assembly local authority.
Allegations that a string of parties were held at Downing Street while the rest of the country was in lockdown have shaken Johnson's government in recent weeks, prompting the worst crisis of his premiership and calls for him to quit.
The latest revelations came on Monday night and saw claims that Johnson broke lockdown rules by having a birthday party at Downing Street on June 19, 2020.
Up to 30 people were present, ITV News alleged. At the time, social gatherings were only permitted between six people outside.
"I should stress that the fact that we are now investigating does not of course mean that fixed penalty notices (fines) will necessarily be issued in every instance and to every person involved," Dick told the Assembly's Police and Crime Committee.
"We will not be giving a running commentary on our current investigations. But I can assure you that we will give updates at significant points as we would generally do."
A senior civil servant, Sue Gray, is also conducting an investigation into the string of allegations and is expected to publish her investigation soon.
Speculation has swirled that she would have to pause her fact-finding probe if the police become involved.
But a Cabinet Office spokesperson said: "The investigation being carried out by Sue Gray is continuing. There is ongoing contact with the Metropolitan Police Service."
Gray's investigation is understood to include the claims about the June 19, 2020 birthday party for Johnson.