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McCarthy says Gaetz won't be punished unless charges filed

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthySunday shows - Cheney removal, CDC guidance reverberate Kinzinger: 'I would love to move on' from Trump but he is the leader of the GOP Cheney: I can't ignore Trump because he 'continues to be a real danger' MORE (R-Calif.) said that Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzGaetz compares allegations against him to earmarks: 'Everybody knows that that's the corruption' Space Force commander removed after comments on podcast Gaetz associate to cooperate with investigation, plead guilty to child sex trafficking MORE (R-Fla.) will not be punished amid sex trafficking allegations unless charges are filed.

“Matt Gaetz is the same as any American, he’s innocent until proven guilty,” McCarthy said after a reporter asked about Gaetz being removed from the House Judiciary Committee, The Associated Press reported.

“There’s no charges against him yet. If a charge comes forward, that will be dealt with at that time,” McCarthy added.

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Gaetz is being investigated by the Justice Department for allegations he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl. There could be a possible violation of sex trafficking laws if the allegations are found to be true.

However, Gaetz has denied all accusations against him and said he will not resign. McCarthy also told reporters that Gaetz said in a private conversation that he was innocent.

Democrats have called for him to be taken off of the Judiciary committee but GOP House rules say that members aren’t removed from their committees until there is a formal charge brought against them for a serious felony, AP noted. 

McCarthy said he won’t get into “hypothetical” questions when a reporter asked if Gaetz could be removed without a formal charge if new accusations are brought forward.

“That’s a hypothetical question. I’ll deal with whatever issue as it comes. As of right now, Matt Gaetz says he is innocent, there’s an investigation going on and I’ll let the investigation take care of itself,” McCarthy said.

The Ethics Committee in the House has opened its own investigation into Gaetz after claims that he showed other House members nude photos of young women and used illegal drugs.