According to a report from the Daily Beast, a frantic Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) clashed with FBI investigators who were assisting the Florida Republican's father who was being blackmailed -- and then ran to Fox News and lied about it to make the FBI look bad as news broke that he was also under investigation.
As the Beast's Roger Sollenberger wrote, an FBI report details agents' interactions with the younger Gaetz on the day that it was being reported that he had allegedly been sending money to an associate who in turn was reportedly passing along the cash to young women for sexual favors -- raising questions about sex trafficking.
According to the FBI report, investigators were meeting with the lawmaker's father, Don Gaetz, a former president of the Florida Senate, who was being victimized by blackmailers who claimed they had dirt on his lawmaker son, when the younger Gaetz burst in on their meeting.
As Sollenberger wrote, as the elder Gaetz was handing a recording device back to the investigators while asking them to collect more evidence when his son Matt lashed out at the agents.
"That evening—around 7:45 p.m., according to the FBI report—two special agents rang the doorbell at the Gaetz family residence. They had come for their recording device. The sting was off, but the records don’t explain why, and they don’t mention the Times story," writes the Daily Beast, which then quoted an FBI report stating that "M. GAETZ yelled, ‘He has a lawyer!’ multiple times.”
Sollenberger's report continued, “M. GAETZ yelled, ‘Do you have a warrant to be here?’ and asked his father if they took anything from him. The agents did not respond, the report says. Don Gaetz answered his son: no, they only took the recording device they had previously given him."
Following the altercation, Gaetz appeared on Fox News with host Tucker Carlson in what the controversial Carlson later called "one of the weirdest interviews I’ve ever conducted."
"Minutes later, Matt Gaetz was on national television delivering a broadside against the men he still alleges extorted his family, while at the same time describing a series of events that FBI records show wasn’t accurate," The Beast reports.
Asked for comment about the discrepancy between what Gaetz told Fox viewers and what the FBI report detailed, a spokesperson for the lawmaker issued a statement that read, "Rep. Matt Gaetz stands by every word he has said about this fiasco. Time has only vindicated his claims and resulted in the guilty plea of one of the people involved in a shakedown of his family,” the spokesperson said. “Due to ongoing investigations of other people involved in this shakedown, we will not have further comment.”
Gaetz is reportedly still under investigation by federal and Florida state officials.