SPONSORED:

GOP leader says Gaetz would lose committee seat if charges true

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyWhite House readies for Chauvin verdict McCarthy to introduce resolution to censure Waters House GOP's McClain responds to Pelosi calling her 'that woman' MORE (R-Calif.) said Wednesday that GOP leaders will remove Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzGOP struggles to rein in nativism 'Real Housewives of the GOP' — Wannabe reality show narcissists commandeer the party Boehner: 'America First Caucus is one of the nuttiest things I've ever seen' MORE (R-Fla.) from his committee assignments if he's found to be guilty of sex trafficking, a case currently under investigation by the Justice Department.

But McCarthy suggested Gaetz would remain on those panels, which include the powerful Judiciary Committee, during the course of the DOJ's investigation.

"Those are serious implications. If it comes out to be true, yes, we would remove him if that's the case," McCarthy told Fox News. "But right now Matt Gaetz says that it's not true and we don't have any information. So let's get all the information."

ADVERTISEMENT

Gaetz, one of most vocal supporters of former President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse votes to condemn Chinese government over Hong Kong Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at age 93 White House readies for Chauvin verdict MORE, is making waves in Washington this week after revelations that the Justice Department is investigating allegations that he'd engaged in a sexual relationship with an underaged girl several years ago.

The probe, which began under the Trump administration, includes an examination of allegations that Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws by traveling with the girl across state lines. The news of the investigation was broken Tuesday by The New York Times.

ADVERTISEMENT

Gaetz has vehemently denied the allegations, contending that he and his family are the victims of an extortion scheme, in which the alleged perpetrators had sought millions of dollars from the Gaetz family to make the charges disappear.

“I know that there was a demand for money in exchange for a commitment that he could make this investigation go away along with his co-conspirators,” Gaetz told Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonFox News's Bret Baier posts vaccination selfie Facebook prevents sharing of New York Post Black Lives Matter story Carlson hits back at Fauci: 'Never for a minute doubted' vaccines work MORE, the conservative Fox News personality, in an interview Tuesday night.

Gaetz went on to accuse Democrats of fueling the allegations for the political purpose of silencing a prominent Trump supporter and rising star of the right.

"What I am troubled by is the real motivation for all of this,” Gaetz said. "I believe we are in an era of our politics now, Tucker, where people are smeared to try to take them out of the conversation.”

The controversy swirling around Gaetz arrives as Republicans are ramping up the pressure on Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWhite House readies for Chauvin verdict House GOP's McClain responds to Pelosi calling her 'that woman' GOP struggles to rein in nativism MORE (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders to strip Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellGOP struggles to rein in nativism Personal security costs for anti-Trump lawmakers spiked post-riot Trump knocks CNN for 'completely false' report Gaetz was denied meeting MORE (D-Calif.) of his seat on the Intelligence Committee. Swalwell, beginning in 2012, had been targeted by a women suspected of being a Chinese spy, an incident first reported by Axios in December.

ADVERTISEMENT

An FBI investigation cleared Swalwell of any wrongdoing, and the California Democrat cut ties with the woman immediately after the agency briefed him and congressional leaders of both parties in 2015.

McCarthy on Wednesday said he has not been briefed by the DOJ on the Gaetz case, nor has he talked to Gaetz personally since the Times story broke.

Gaetz is no stranger to controversy. At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, he appeared on the House floor in a gas mask — a gesture that drew howls from Democrats who accused him of mocking the public safety protocols installed to combat the deadly pandemic.

Gaetz was also a leading proponent of the false narrative that Trump had won November's presidential election by a landslide, only to have the victory "stolen" by rampant voter fraud. He was among the majority of House Republicans that tried to overturn the election outcome by rejecting the submitted results from two states on Jan. 6, just hours after a pro-Trump mob stormed into the Capitol to disrupt the process.

No evidence of such fraud was found in any state.