As one DOJ veteran told Insider, the timeline doesn't necessarily mean Gaetz's claims of an extortion scheme are untrue, but it does indicate the department's probe was not launched as a result of any such scheme.
While on Carlson's show, Gaetz immediately declared that the report he had a relationship with a teenager whom he traveled with was a "lie" and "verifiably false". People can look at my travel records and see that that is not the case'. 'And she was actually threatened by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, told that if she wouldn't cop to the fact that somehow I was involved in some pay for play scheme that she could face trouble and so I do believe that there are people at the Department of Justice who are trying to smear me'.
He also told the New York Times that he doesn't know much about the DOJ's investigation (despite claiming to know that it is part of a larger extortion conspiracy???) but says, "I only know that it has to do with women". That was one of the weirdest interviews I've ever conducted'. Which, as you saw, he did.
Gaetz said he has provided financially for former sexual partners but said he was "absolutely" confident none of them were underage. The person could not publicly discuss the details of an ongoing investigation and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
He denied that he ever had a relationship with any underage girls and said the allegations against him were "as searing as they are false".
The Florida congressman said the former DOJ official who is allegedly trying to extort him is David McGee, now a lawyer at a Florida-based law firm.
Gaetz accused McGee live on Carlson's show of trying to extort millions of dollars out of him and his family in exchange for "making terrible sex trafficking allegations against me go away".
"Over the past several weeks, my family and I have been victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name", Gaetz tweeted.
Mr Gaetz said his family has been cooperating with the FBI and that he and his father had been wearing a recording device at the bureau's request "to catch these criminals".
"The Justice Department regularly prosecutes such cases, and offenders often receive severe sentences", writes the Times. "You know, providing for flights and hotel rooms for people that you are dating who are of legal age is not a crime and I'm just troubled that lack of any sort of legitimate investigation into me would then permute, would then convert into this extortion attempt". The sources said the Gaetz investigation was connected to the investigation of Gaetz associate Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector in Florida who was indicted a year ago on charges including sex trafficking of a child.
Asked whether he would take any action against Gaetz, such as removing him from the Judiciary Committee, as Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., has demanded, McCarthy said: "DOJ has not told me anything".
"You just referred to a mentally ill viewer who accused me of a sex crime 20 years ago and, of course, it was not true", said Carlson.
"I only know what I've read about in the New York Times", he claims, before putting Carlson into the dragnet.