Rep. Matt Gaetz sought a blanket pardon for himself and others during the final weeks of the Trump administration, the New York Times reported Tuesday night. Citing two people familiar with the discussions, the Times reported that Gaetz asked the White House for blanket preventive pardons for himself and his unidentified allies for any crimes they may have committed. The Times said it was unclear at the time whether Gaetz knew that the Justice Department had already opened an investigation into his actions.
The Florida Republican, long one of Trump’s staunch supporters, is under investigation by the Justice Department for a prior sexual relationship. The Times previously reported that authorities are trying to determine if Gaetz had an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old and if he violated federal sex trafficking laws. Gaetz has denied the criminal wrongdoing. According to Tuesday’s report, the Times said lawyers and White House officials flatly rejected the clemency request. Then-President Donald Trump was aware of the request, the Times said, although it was unclear whether Gaetz directly apologized to him. Last week, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Gaetz would be removed from his House committee seats if the allegations are proven. Gaetz currently sits on the House Judiciary Committee, which oversees the Justice Department.