GOP congressman under investigation by Florida State Bar for threatening Cohen
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), one of Trump’s top congressional defenders, is under investigation by the Florida Bar Association for threatening Michael Cohen before his testimony on Wednesday.
Chuck Hughes, the bar’s counsel, confirmed to the Daily Beast that an investigation is underway based on complaints submitted by the public. Gaetz is licensed as a lawyer in Florida, where he represents the 1st Congressional District.
The site notes that the bar’s grievance committee must now determine whether Gaetz violated their organization’s ethical guidelines. If they determine that a violation has occurred, Gaetz would be given 15 days to respond and the bar’s attorneys would investigate. The entire process could lead to sanctions from the state supreme court.
“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 tweeted ahead of Cohen’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee.
Legal analysts pointed out that the thuggish missive could be in violation of 18 U.S. Code 1512, relating to “tampering with a witness, victim or an informant.”
Gaetz was immediately and widely condemned for his menacing tweet. Cohen had already rescheduled his testimony, citing his concern about threats to his and his family’s safety after Trump used his Twitter feed to intimidate his former lawyer and personal fixer.
Gaetz ultimately deleted his tweet and apologized after Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned him for it.
“It was NOT my intent to threaten, as some believe I did. I’m deleting the tweet & I should have chosen words that better showed my intent. I’m sorry,” Gaetz wrote.
Speaker, I want to get the truth too. While it is important 2 create context around the testimony of liars like Michael Cohen, it was NOT my intent to threaten, as some believe I did. I’m deleting the tweet & I should have chosen words that better showed my intent. I’m sorry. https://t.co/Rdbw3sTQJD— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) February 27, 2019
Despite his rhetoric, Gaetz was present in the hearing room for Cohen’s testimony even though he is not a member of the Oversight Committee.
The episode again illustrates that Republicans in Congress consider themselves members of Trump’s defense team, trying to shut down investigations into his alleged crimes, rather than upholding their constitutional duty to the rule of law.
Published with permission of The American Independent. Attribution: Oliver Willis.