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Politics 10 Things in Politics: Ex-Trump aides dunk on Gaetz in gossipy texts

12:40  31 march  2021
12:40  31 march  2021 Source:   businessinsider.com

What we know: Rep. Matt Gaetz is under federal investigation for having sex with a minor

  What we know: Rep. Matt Gaetz is under federal investigation for having sex with a minor Rep. Matt Gaetz is under federal investigation, which he alleges is part of an extortion plot. Here's what we know about the news that broke Tuesday.The revelation — that the Justice Department is investigating Gaetz for potential violations of sex trafficking laws — swiftly roiled national politics. The alleged incident involves Gaetz having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paying for her travel, the New York Times first reported.

Good morning! Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox each day. Send your tips and suggestions to bgriffiths@insider.com or tweet me @BrentGriffiths.

Matt Gaetz sitting on a table: Rep. Matt Gaetz is reportedly under investigation for violating sex-trafficking laws. Samuel Corum/Getty Images © Samuel Corum/Getty Images Rep. Matt Gaetz is reportedly under investigation for violating sex-trafficking laws. Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Here's what you need to know:

  • Some Republicans see a comeuppance in Matt Gaetz's potential scandal
  • Here's what Biden will unveil in his $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan today
  • Grover Norquist is making a return to GOP politics

1. A TRUMP DEFENDER FACES A POTENTIAL SCANDAL: Rep. Matt Gaetz may now have the scandal he once jokingly craved. While former Trump White House officials and other Republicans are gossiping about their fellow Republican's misfortune.

Republicans Have Been Waiting for a Matt Gaetz Scandal to Break

  Republicans Have Been Waiting for a Matt Gaetz Scandal to Break After Rep. Matt Gaetz accused a Florida lawyer of a $25 million extortion scheme to make sex trafficking allegations disappear, Republicans on and off Capitol Hill on Wednesday largely kept their mouths shut. Gaetz—the Trump-loving, Fox News-grinning, 38-year-old Florida Republican—has a less-than-sterling reputation among his congressional colleagues. More than a half-dozen lawmakers have spoken to these reporters about his love of alcohol and illegal drugs, as well as his proclivity for younger women. It’s well-known among Republican lawmakers that Gaetz was dating a college student—one over the age of consent—in 2018. She came to Washington as an intern.

  • Key quote: "Good riddance," a former Trump White House aide told Insider. "It sounds like he let whatever BS power he thought he had go to his head and he thought himself above the law."
  • Messages are flying across Washington: One former senior Trump White House aide was on multiple text chains with former colleagues gossiping about the deluge of news.
  • Read the rest of the details in our exclusive report.

What's happening: The Justice Department is investigating whether Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws, The New York Times reports. At issue is whether the Florida congressman had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him.

Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing. But an interview defending himself raised eyebrows, including the host's: Fox News' Tucker Carlson called Gaetz's appearance "one of the weirdest interviews I've ever conducted."

Gaetz has a devoted fan base, but few friends in Washington.

  Gaetz has a devoted fan base, but few friends in Washington. Even before the current investigation, the Florida Republican prompted plenty of eye rolls on both sides of the aisle.But after news broke that the FBI is investigating the Florida Republican for potential sex trafficking, Gaetz found few people willing to defend him or lend credence to his claim that he's done nothing wrong but instead is being extorted and smeared.

Tucker Carlson, Matt Gaetz are posing for a picture: Matt Gaetz appears on © Fox News Matt Gaetz appears on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" to address a DOJ investigation into him. Fox News

It gets stranger: Gaetz further alleges the allegations are part of a $25 million extortion plot by a former DOJ official. The lawmaker even claims his father recently wore a wire as part of an FBI investigation into that plot.

  • Worth noting: Part of his denial that is worth scrutiny is his claim that he was targeted for being "an outspoken conservative." According to the Times, the sex trafficking investigation was started under the Trump administration i.e. while Bill Barr was still Attorney General.

The kicker: Before the Times story broke, Axios reported that Gaetz was eyeing leaving Congress to take a job at Newsmax, a conservative TV station.

2. The details on Biden's $2.25 infrastructure plan: The first part of Biden's plan calls for $650 billion in road, bridges, and waterways; $400 billion in clean-energy credits; and $300 billion for housing infrastructure, The Washington Post reports. Tax hikes will help cover the cost with officials eyeing higher taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations. Here's what else is in it.

Rep. Matt Gaetz's media blitz publicized a federal investigation. Legal experts say that poses risks

  Rep. Matt Gaetz's media blitz publicized a federal investigation. Legal experts say that poses risks Rep. Matt Gaetz is pursuing a risky strategy in publicizing a federal investigation against him, according to legal experts.Gaetz, R-Fla., a high-profile advocate for former President Donald Trump and a firebrand against Democrats in Congress, announced Tuesday he was under investigation. But he said on Twitter and in an interview on Fox News that he is the victim of an extortion plot and has denied having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl or paying women for sex, as alleged in the investigation first reported by The New York Times.

  • Democratic lawmakers are already making their asks: Four lawmakers from New York and New Jersey are insisting that the proposal repeal the GOP tax law's limit on state and local tax deductions, Politico reports. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi can only afford to lose three votes.

3. A 9-year-old testified about watching George Floyd die: "They asked him nicely to get off of him," the girl testified, one of four witnesses who were all minors when Floyd died. "He still stayed on him." Her comments punctuated another emotional day in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged with murdering Floyd last May.

Here's what else we learned on day 2: An off-duty firefighter and EMT, Genevieve Hansen, also saw Floyd's death. She said noticed something was wrong and wanted to help but wasn't allowed to do so.

  • Chauvin's defense tried to paint Hansen as emotional: An attorney pointed out that she later swore at Chauvin. Hansen responded, "I don't know if you've seen anyone be killed, but it's upsetting."

4. Grover Norquist is making a return to GOP politics: The conservative firebrand Grover Norquist is returning just as Democrats plan big spending, even as Norquist's detractors point out that his longtime assault on federal spending was ignored in the Trump-era even before the pandemic. More in Insider's profile on the man who created the taxpayer pledge.

Another twist in Matt Gaetz saga: Former staffer describes FBI encounter and defends old boss

  Another twist in Matt Gaetz saga: Former staffer describes FBI encounter and defends old boss A former member of Rep. Matt Gaetz’s congressional staff added yet another strange twist to the damage-control effort following bombshell news of federal investigators looking into whether his former boss paid for sex or had sex with a 17-year-old. © Provided by Washington Examiner Nathan Nelson, a retired Air Force captain and wheelchair-bound Purple Heart recipient due to being wounded in Afghanistan, worked for the Florida Republican congressman's office from January 2017 through late 2020 as his director of military affairs.

a man and a little boy looking at the camera: Young children look out from inside a pod at the Donna Department of Homeland Security holding facility, the main detention center for unaccompanied children in the Rio Grande Valley run by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in Donna, Texas, Tuesday, March 30, 2021. AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills, Pool) © AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills, Pool) Young children look out from inside a pod at the Donna Department of Homeland Security holding facility, the main detention center for unaccompanied children in the Rio Grande Valley run by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in Donna, Texas, Tuesday, March 30, 2021. AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills, Pool)

5. The first look inside a massively overcrowded facility near the border: "For the first time on Tuesday, US Customs and Border Protection allowed two journalists ... to tour the Donna, Texas, facility in the Rio Grande Valley." The facility has a capacity of 250 but is currently housing more than 4,100 people.

  • What conditions are like: "The children were being housed by the hundreds in eight pods about 3,200 square feet (297 square meters) in size. Many of the pods had more than 500 children in them," reported the Associated Press, one of the two outlets allowed in.

6. Republicans are readying the next big pandemic fight over vaccine passports: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a possible 2024 presidential hopeful, said he would take executive action to ban them. Some venues, sports teams, and even universities are either eyeing or already requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

Experts say such efforts will accelerate the return to a more normal life.

Donald Trump Likes Kim Jong Un and Kyle Rittenhouse More Than Matt Gaetz

  Donald Trump Likes Kim Jong Un and Kyle Rittenhouse More Than Matt Gaetz Thanks to Matt Gaetz and his sad, creepy sex life, we finally know just how vile a person in Donald Trump’s orbit has to be before even Donald Trump thinks it’s not worth defending them. Abroad, Trump called Kim Jong Un his friend, defended Vladimir Putin (“There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?”), and shrugged off Mohammed bin Salman’s murder of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi (“The world is a very dangerous place!”).

7. The top things for your calendar, all times Eastern:

  • 10:00 a.m.: The Supreme Court hears oral arguments on a case about the compensation of college athletes
  • 10:00 a.m.: Chauvin's trial resumes
  • 11:00 a.m.: Dr. Anthony Fauci and other members of the White House's pandemic team hold a news conference
  • 4:20 p.m.: Biden visits Pittsburgh to discuss his infrastructure plan

8. New York is one step closer to recreational marijuana: "The New York State Senate and Assembly passed a bill legalizing marijuana for those over 21 years of age." Gov. Andrew Cuomo has pledged to sign it into law. But a new law would most likely not take effect until next year.

9. The minimum wage would be $44 an hour if it had grown at the same rate as Wall Street bonuses: Last year, Wall Street firms paid their New York City-based traders an average bonus of $184,000, a 10% increase from 2019. That increase is right in line with the past 30 years of bonus growth: Since 1985, Wall Street traders' bonuses have grown 1,217%, according to New York's comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

If the minimum wage had grown at the same rate, it would be $44.12 an hour: After having the $15 minimum wage struck from the last stimulus bill, Biden has been feeling renewed pressure from the left to raise federal wages. Here are some Democrats' proposals for raising national pay.

10. Nike sues over the devil in a custom shoe's details: The sportswear giant is suing MSCHF, a company behind a number of previous viral products, over its "Satan Shoe" collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X. The company used Nike's Air Max 97 shoe for inspiration for its sold-out devil-themed design, which added a drop of human blood to the midsole. Here's the 411 on the 666 sneakers.

One last thing.

Today's trivia question: What state was awarded the first contract under Eisenhower's Federal Highway Act of 1956, the law that pushed the US Interstate system to reality? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

  • Yesterday's answer: President Theodore Roosevelt created the first designated office for correspondents at the White House. He was regarded as an innovator for meeting with some reporters directly.
Read the original article on Business Insider

Adam Kinzinger becomes first Republican in Congress to call for Matt Gaetz's resignation amid federal investigation .
"Matt Gaetz needs to resign," Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., tweeted in response to an article about a Justice Department investigation involving Gaetz."Matt Gaetz needs to resign," Kinzinger tweeted, linking to an article about the Justice Department's investigation into Gaetz.

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