GOP lawmaker says tweet about Cohen is ‘witness testing, not witness tampering’

Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzHouse approves Democrat-backed bill ending mandatory arbitration Lewandowski, Democrats tangle at testy hearing State probes of Google, Facebook to test century-old antitrust laws MORE (R-Fla.) on Tuesday dismissed accusations that he was tampering with a witness when he appeared to threaten to expose alleged infidelities by Michael Cohen.

The earlier tweet from Gaetz came a day before President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's top adviser on Asia to serve as deputy national security adviser United Auto Workers strike against GM poised to head into eighth day Trump doubles down on call to investigate Biden after whistleblower complaint: 'That's the real story' MORE's former attorney is to testify publicly before Congress. 

"We’re witness testing not witness tampering," Gaetz told reporters just hours after sending a tweet about Cohen. "And when witnesses come before Congress, their truthfulness and veracity are in question and we have the opportunity to test them."

ADVERTISEMENT

Gaetz, an ally of Trump's, added that he thinks the public will learn a lot about Cohen during Wednesday's public testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee. 

"I think my tweet speaks for itself," Gaetz said, before adding that people would have to "tune in tomorrow to find out" if he has any insight regarding Cohen's alleged extramarital relationships. 

The Florida Republican earlier Tuesday appeared to suggest that Cohen had girlfriends and that those alleged infidelities would come to light. 

“Hey @MichaelCohen212 - Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends?” Gaetz tweeted. “Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison.  She’s about to learn a lot…”

Cohen's lawyer, Lanny Davis, who is also a contributor to The Hill, responded by condemning Gaetz's "despicable lies and personal smears."

"We trust that his colleagues in the House, both Republicans and Democrats, will repudiate his words and his conduct," he said in a statement. 

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) also called for the House Ethics Committee to investigate Gaetz for taking "to Twitter to intimidate a witness."

Cohen, who was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to bank and tax fraud and campaign finance violations, is giving private and public testimony before congressional committees this week. 

Cohen will reportedly provide members of the Oversight panel with evidence that Trump played a part in criminal actions. 

The Trump administration and the Republican National Committee have dismissed Cohen's credibility, with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying that it's "laughable that anyone would take a convicted liar like Cohen at his word."