The Florida bar just undertook rapid action to investigate the House Republican who threatened Michael Cohen and his family on the eve of his immensely damaging testimony against the President today.
Self-declared “Florida man” Rep. Matt Gaetz is a lawyer and second generation politician from the state’s ultra-conservative Panhandle who worships Donald Trump and studies his former campaign manager Roger Stone, who is currently under indictment for witness tampering.
Rep. Gaetz posted an ominously threatening tweet yesterday that was clearly a ham-fisted attempt to dissuade Trump’s former personal lawyer from occupying the role John Dean played in Watergate: being the first man to blow the whistle to Congress and exposing a Republican president’s crimes while in office.
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“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…”
The Florida Bar, along with the rest of the country, immediately took note and according to The Daily Beast, they’re not pleased:
“If rules have been violated, The Florida Bar will vigorously pursue appropriate discipline by the Florida Supreme Court,” [its spokesperson] Francine Walker said in a statement. “The Florida Bar takes its responsibility of regulating lawyer conduct very seriously.”
The organization, which licenses lawyers to practice in the state, would not disclose details of the investigation, but [its] spokesperson said the bar is “quite aware of [Gaetz’s] comments…and we have opened an investigation.”
Today, the Florida man desperately tried to backtrack and swore that “it was NOT my intent to threaten” Cohen, but why else would someone make such a statement on the eve of historic testimony, which ultimately implicated the President and his oldest son in multiple felony crimes?
Members of Congress are protected by the Constitution’s “Speech and Debate” clause when debating legislation, which gives them even more free speech protections than the First Amendment.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) quickly pointed out that Rep. Gaetz wouldn’t be so fortunate to enjoy that protection for his plan to intimidate Michael Cohen, and that it’s time for the House Ethics Committee to investigate as well.
I encourage all Members to be mindful that comments made on social media or in the press can adversely affect the ability of House Committees to obtain the truthful and complete information necessary to fulfill their duties. https://t.co/NDnxkaiFCA pic.twitter.com/DIIgSHgeb5
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) February 26, 2019
If the six members of the House Ethics panel, which has a 50/50 partisan split, believes that Rep. Gaetz’s comments crossed the line into criminal witness tempering, they have the ability to levy fines, recommend expulsion, or even refer the matter for prosecution.
House Republicans grew fat and happy during eight years of their anything goes, Tea Party-flavored majority.
Now that the House has been returned to the people under a Democratic majority, the GOP’s sickening “all the crime you can commit or cover up” buffet is officially closed.