Ethics panel reviews GOP lawmaker’s tweet at ex-Trump lawyer

Political
Matt Gaetz

FILE – In this June 10, 2019 file photo, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., questions former White House counsel for the Nixon Administration John Dean during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Mueller Report on Capitol Hill in Washington. The House Ethics Committee is investigating whether Gaetz tried intimidating Michael Cohen before the former personal lawyer to President Donald Trump testified to Congress about Trump. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Ethics Committee is investigating whether a Florida congressman tried to intimidate Michael Cohen before the former personal lawyer to President Donald Trump testified to Congress about Trump.

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz is a two-term lawmaker who has been one of Trump’s most outspoken defenders.

Cohen testified to a House committee in February that Trump had known WikiLeaks had obtained damaging emails about his 2016 presidential rival, Hillary Clinton. The day before that appearance, Gaetz asked Cohen in a tweet if his “wife and father-in-law know about your girlfriends?”

Gaetz later apologized for the tweet.

A brief statement Friday by the ethics panel did not mention the tweet. It said Gaetz refused the committee’s requests to testify about the allegation, so lawmakers are forming a bipartisan subcommittee to investigate.

Gaetz was defiant Friday, saying in a statement released by his office that, “If members of Congress want to spend their time psychoanalyzing my tweets, it’s certainly their prerogative. I won’t be joining them in the endeavor.”

Meanwhile, Gaetz said this week that he plans to press charges against a woman who allegedly threw a drink cup at him as he was leaving a town hall event earlier this month.

“I am going to press charges. It’s really important to send a message that we as conservatives have a right to our views — just like anybody else. We’re not backing down,” Gaetz tweeted Thursday.

Gaetz told Fox News he fears similar incidents may happen to him or his staff in the future.

“If there are no consequences, then maybe it’s me getting hit with a drink one time, but what if it’s a member of my staff? What if instead of a drink it’s acid or urine?” he said.

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