The House Ethics Committee announced Friday that it is opening an investigative subcommittee to look into whether Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) sought to improperly influence or even threaten former Trump lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen ahead of Cohen’s February congressional testimony.
The subcommittee was established because Gaetz declined to be interviewed by the committee, according to a committee press release.
Gaetz was blunt in response.
“If members of Congress want to spend their time psychoanalyzing my tweets, it’s certainly their prerogative,” he said in a statement his press secretary sent to TPM. “I won’t be joining them in the endeavor.”
The investigation stems from a tweet Gaetz sent on the eve of Michael Cohen’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee in February.
The tweet, since deleted, read: “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 …”
Criticism of the post was bipartisan. Gaetz ultimately deleted it and apologized in a tweet, in his unique style.
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
The congressman also claimed to have apologized to Cohen personally. (Vanity Fair published the purported text).
The Florida Bar is also investigating the tweet. Gaetz has denied telling Trump that he was “happy to do it,” referring to the ominous tweet, after The Atlantic’s Edward-Isaac Dovere reported someone had heard the congressman saying as much.