- The Washington Post reported Gaetz sought a preemptive presidential pardon in a sex trafficking investigation.
- Sources told WaPo that Johnny McEntee, a White House official, testified he received the request from Gaetz.
- A spokesperson for Gaetz told Insider the congressman never directly asked Trump for a pardon.
Congressman Matt Gaetz preemptively sought a presidential pardon relating to an ongoing investigation into whether he sex trafficked a 17-year-old, according to reporting by The Washington Post.
Sources familiar with the testimony told The Washington Post that Johnny McEntee, a staffer in the Donald Trump White House, told the United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack he received the request from Rep. Gaetz around the time of the siege on the Capitol.
McEntee testified Gaetz told him he was aware of an investigation being launched into his conduct and that “he did not do anything wrong but they are trying to make his life hell, and you know, if the president could give him a pardon, that would be great,” The Washington Post reported. McEntee also testified Gaetz said he asked White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows for a pardon.
The Department of Justice probe into whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with an underage girl and paid her to travel with him was first reported in 2021 and continues to be investigated.
Gaetz has not been charged with any crime and has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
“Congressman Matt Gaetz discussed pardons for many other people publicly and privately at the end of President Donald Trump’s first term,” a spokesman for Rep. Gaetz told Insider in an email. “As for himself, President Trump addressed this malicious rumor more than a year ago stating, ‘Congressman Matt Gaetz has never asked me for a pardon.’ Rep. Gaetz continues to stand by President Trump’s statement.”
The spokesperson did not respond to questions about whether Gaetz denied the conversations about pardons with McEntee or Meadows occurred.
The GOP congressman, one of 20 Republicans to vote against reauthorizing a sex-trafficking law in July, has received ongoing support from former President Trump relating to the investigation, despite Trump’s comments calling for death to human traffickers.