Gaetz, under investigation for sex allegations, sought blanket pardon from Trump: Sources

JOHN SANTUCCI and KATHERINE FAULDERS
·2 min read

During the final weeks of President Donald Trump's administration, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz asked the White House for a blanket presidential pardon --- a request that was ultimately not granted, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Gaetz’s seeking of a preemptive pardon for crimes that may have been committed was first reported by the New York Times.

Trump was aware of Gaetz’s request, but the idea was quickly dismissed inside the White House, sources told ABC News.

MORE: Rep. Matt Gaetz denies sexual relationship with underage girl amid reports of DOJ investigation

The Department of Justice is investigating whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paid for her to travel with him, potentially violating sex trafficking laws.

PHOTO: Rep. Matt Gaetz accompanies President Donald Trump to Game 5 of the World Series baseball in Washington, Oct. 27, 2019.  (Andrew Harnik/AP, FILE)
PHOTO: Rep. Matt Gaetz accompanies President Donald Trump to Game 5 of the World Series baseball in Washington, Oct. 27, 2019. (Andrew Harnik/AP, FILE)

Gaetz, who has denied any wrongdoing, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

The investigation targeting Gaetz was launched last year when Trump was still president, sources familiar with the matter have told ABC News. It’s not clear whether the White House or Gaetz were aware of the ongoing investigation at the time. Then-Attorney General Bill Barr was briefed on the investigation's progress several times, the sources said.

MORE: Feds looking at alleged payments Rep. Matt Gaetz made to women and online solicitation: Sources

Gaetz previously voiced his support for Trump's presidential pardons, appearing on Laura Ingraham's Fox News show on Nov. 24 to declare that Trump should "pardon Michael Flynn, he should pardon the Thanksgiving turkey, he should pardon everyone from himself to his administration officials to Joe Exotic if he has to."

MORE: Matt Gaetz's controversial rise to MAGA stardom faces renewed scrutiny amid DOJ probe

"Because you see from the radical left a bloodlust that will only be quenched if they come after the people who worked so hard to animate the Trump administration with the policies and the vigor and the effectiveness that delivered for the American people," Gaetz said. "So I think the president ought to wield that pardon power effectively and robustly."

Gaetz, under investigation for sex allegations, sought blanket pardon from Trump: Sources originally appeared on abcnews.go.com