Pelosi: Ethics panel should ‘vigilantly monitor’ social media after GOP lawmaker’s Cohen tweet

Pelosi: Ethics panel should ‘vigilantly monitor’ social media after GOP lawmaker’s Cohen tweet
© Greg Nash

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders on the rise as Nevada debate looms Lawmakers push back at Trump's Pentagon funding grab for wall Malaysia says it will choose 5G partners based on own standards, not US recommendations MORE (D-Calif.) on Tuesday called for the House Ethics Committee to “vigilantly monitor” members’ statements on social media after Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzSunday shows preview: 2020 Democrats jockey for top spot ahead of Nevada caucuses Trump adviser presses House investigators to make Bezos testify The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden leaving New Hampshire early as voting underway MORE (R-Fla.) tweeted about Michael Cohen.

“I encourage all Members to be mindful that comments made on social media or in the press can adversely affect the ability of House Committees to obtain the truthful and complete information necessary to fulfill their duties,” Pelosi said in a statement. 

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The Ethics Committee should monitor statements “which may not be protected by the speech or debate clause,” Pelosi said, without naming any lawmaker.

Her statement linked back to her Feb. 20 tweet announcing that Cohen would testify despite his claims that President Trump was trying to intimidate him

The Speaker’s comments came shortly after Gaetz, a Trump loyalist who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, tweeted about the president’s former lawyer.

“Hey @MichaelCohen212 - Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? 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…” Gaetz wrote.

The Florida Republican’s tweet came the day before Cohen’s scheduled testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

The president’s former attorney and "fixer" will reportedly testify that Trump has a history of making racist comments and inflating or deflating his net worth for business purposes such as avoiding taxes. 

Gaetz was accused by some of trying to intimidate Cohen before his testimony.

Rep. Bill PascrellWilliam (Bill) James PascrellDemocrats, GOP spar over Treasury rules on Trump tax law On The Money: Economy adds 225K jobs in January, topping expectations | Appeals court tosses Dems' lawsuit over emoluments | Democrats decide against bringing back earmarks Democrat hits Mnuchin for giving Hunter Biden docs to Republicans MORE (D-N.J.) called for the House Ethics Committee to launch an investigation into the “grossly unethical and probably illegal” tweet.

Gaetz, however, dismissed accusations of witness tampering by saying he was “witness testing.”

"And when witnesses come before Congress their truthfulness and veracity are in question and we have the opportunity to test them,” Gaetz told reporters just hours after sending the tweet.

He added that people would have to "tune in tomorrow to find out" if he has any insight regarding Cohen's alleged extramarital relationships. 

Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis, who is also a contributor to The Hill, responded by condemning Gaetz for the "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.