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Leading Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz investigated over sexual relationship

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SCREENSHOT VIA MATT GAETZ  TWITTER

The Republican leader of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy of California, told Fox News on Tuesday that Republicans would support removing Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-FL, from his committee assignments if allegations that he traveled and had a sexual relationship with an underage girl are proven true. The congressman claimed in interviews with USA news outlets that the allegations were part of an extortion plot by a former Department of Justice official.

The report said investigators are looking into whether Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws in his encounters two years ago with a girl believed to have been 17 at the time.

Perino also asked McCarthy whether he knew why Gaetz voted against 2017 legislation related to human trafficking, to which McCarthy replied, "No, I have no idea whatsoever why he would vote against that".

This isn't the first time Gaetz has been accused of sexual misconduct. No charges had been filed as of the time of the report, but Gaetz told Axios on Tuesday that he fears charges against him may be coming.

The 38-year-old laid out more details on Twitter yesterday on his allegations of a smear campaign.

And on the certainty that there's always more than you read in the newspaper, we immediately called Matt Gaetz and asked him to come on and tell us more which, as you saw, he did.

"I'm not the only person on screen right now who's been falsely accused of a awful sex act", the lawmaker told Tucker Carlson.

Gaetz alleged that the allegations were part of an extortion plot by a former Justice Department official, whom he did not name.

"That was one of the weirdest interviews I've ever conducted", Carlson said.

"It is a terrible allegation, and it is a lie", said Gaetz. "That story just appeared in the news a couple of hours ago".

In an interview with Axios, he added that the specifics of the allegations are "unclear" and he's been told "very little" about the investigation and that his lawyers were informed he was "not a target but a subject of an investigation regarding sexual conduct with women".

Gaetz specifically fingered former DOJ official David McGee as the mastermind of the scheme. 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 previous year on charges including sex trafficking of a child.

He alleged that the woman had been "threatened" by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and told "she could face trouble" if she didn't confess to authorities that Gaetz was involved in a "pay-for-play scheme".

'You know, I've paid for flights, for hotel rooms.

Gaetz said his family has been cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and said his father was wearing a recording device, at the FBI's direction, "to catch these criminals". "But I would like to know who-so they're saying there's a 17-year-old girl who you had a relationship with, is that true, and who is this girl?"

Mr Gaetz has not been charged with a crime. "And so, I do believe that there are people at the Department of Justice who are trying to smear me", he explained. The Justice Department did not immediately comment.

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