A new report from CNN said Rep. Matt Gaetz showed lawmakers nude photos of women he said he had slept with. He showed off these photos both in private and on the House floor, CNN reported, and bragged about his sexual exploits.
Thursday's development comes as Gaetz is facing a firestorm over the revelation that the Justice Department is investigating whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him, which would violate federal sex-trafficking laws.
CNN said there was no evidence the nude photos Gaetz showed to lawmakers were connected to the Justice Department's investigation.
Earlier Thursday, CNN reported investigators were looking into whether Gaetz misused campaign funds to pay for his travel.
After The New York Times reported on the existence of the Justice Department's inquiry, Gaetz went on a Twitter and media blitz, alleging that the investigation into him was part of an elaborate plot to extort his family for $25 million. He called the allegations against him "horrible" and said that while he was "generous" with women he previously dated, he was "absolutely" confident none of them were underage.
The Florida congressman also said he was being targeted because he's an "outspoken conservative."
He said the allegations were part of an "organized criminal extortion" of him and that "the people pushing these lies are targets ... of the ongoing extortion investigation." He added that he and his family had been cooperating in an FBI investigation into the matter, and he provided emails to Politico on Wednesday that appeared to back up his statements.
Gaetz accused David McGee, a former DOJ prosecutor who now works at the law firm Beggs & Lane, of spearheading the alleged extortion plot and said that his father, Don Gaetz, was first contacted about it on March 16. McGee said earlier this week that Gaetz's allegation was "totally false" and has since declined to comment or not responded to requests for comment.
It's unlikely that the sex-trafficking investigation was part of an extortion plot, given that it was launched months before Gaetz said his father was contacted.
His claim that he's being targeted because he's an "outspoken conservative" also doesn't hold up, since the inquiry was opened under a Republican administration and while William Barr — a staunch Trump loyalist with strong conservative credentials — was attorney general. Barr and other senior Trump appointees were briefed on the investigation when it was launched and green-lighted it, The Times reported.
A spokesperson for Gaetz did not immediately respond to a request for comment.