Tuesday on MSNBC’s The Last Word, Rep. Ted Lieu said that Rep. Matt Gaetz, the Florida Republican who is alleged to have had a sexual relationship with a minor, should be removed from the House Judiciary Committee.
“Gaetz does not deny a federal investigation against him that is looking at whether or not he had sexual relations with a 17-year-old girl and that she traveled across state lines and was induced by him to do so with payments or hotel stays and so on,” Lieu said. “That by itself is a very serious charge.”
No, an investigation is not a charge. And of course Gaetz doesn’t deny that there is an investigation. That is factual. Acknowledging that one exists is not evidence of guilt, although Lieu is suggesting it is.
“If it’s true, if he, in fact, had sexual relations with an underage minor, I know that Florida law also makes it a felony to do so. So Matt Gaetz is facing very serious charges right now, and his defense is bizarre, and it doesn’t shield him from these investigations.”
Again, Gaetz has not been charged with anything.
He continued, “The fact that someone, even if it’s true, in March tried to extort him or his family to allegedly make this case go away, doesn’t change the fact that there is a case.”
Fact check: Gaetz was not extorted to make the case go away — he was, or claims he was, extorted by someone who threatened to make up the story of sex with an underage girl. Lieu wants listeners to believe that Gaetz is trying to hide his guilt, not defend himself against a false charge.
Lieu went on to repeat several times that the fact an investigation exists is evidence of Gaetz’s guilt, and therefore “He’s in deep trouble, and that’s why he needs to be removed from the House Judiciary Committee.”
Lieu is a liar and a smear merchant. In a sane world, that should be sufficient to have him removed from office.