Both the tweets and the appearance followed bombshell New York Times and Axios reports which indicated Gaetz was being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice to determine whether the Florida representative paid a 17-year-old girl to travel with him while he was engaged in a sexual relationship with the teen.
After the New York Times broke news about the inquiry on Tuesday afternoon, Gaetz confirmed the probe to Axios and said the allegations were false. "The planted leak to the FBI tonight was meant to thwart that investigation", he continued.
In a statement Tuesday night on Twitter, Gaetz vehemently denied the allegations reported by the Times. "And so, I do believe that there are people at the Department of Justice who are trying to smear me", he explained. Gaetz told the publication that the Justice Department informed his lawyers that he was the subject and not the target of the Greenberg investigation.
However, Gaetz recalled a dinner with Carlson, his wife and "a friend of mine" who he said has since been "threatened" by authorities to "cop to the fact that somehow I was involved in some pay for play scheme".
Gaetz said one of his relatives was supposed "transfer" money tomorrow to "implicate. former DOJ officials" in what he alleged was an attempt to extort his family. That was one of the weirdest interviews I've ever conducted'. He demanded the Justice Department release the recordings.
The investigation began in the final months of former President Donald Trump's administration under Attorney General William Barr and was part of an investigation into Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector in northern Florida, who was indicted previous year on charges of sex trafficking of a child and financially supporting people, including one underage girl, in exchange for sex.
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"No part of the allegations against me are true, and the people pushing these lies are targets of the ongoing extortion investigation", Gaetz said.
'I have definitely, in my single days, provided for women I've dated, ' Gaetz said.
"I know that there was a demand for money in exchange for a commitment that he could make this investigation go away along with his co-conspirators".
The investigation is part of a larger inquiry into former Seminole County tax collector and friend Joel Greenberg, who was charged previous year with 14 felony counts accusing him of stalking a political opponent, using a state database to create fake IDs, and sex trafficking a minor between the ages of 14 and 17, reports the Times.
"Providing for flights and hotel rooms for people that you're dating who are of legal age is not a crime", he told Carlson.
"I just read the story". The Justice Department did not immediately comment.