Congress

After bringing Cohen’s family into it, Matt Gaetz now urges supporters to leave them alone

GOP rep takes another step back from intimidating tweet ahead of Trump’s former fixer’s testimony

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., urged his supporters to leave the family of Michael Cohen alone, hours after publicly suggesting that Trump’s former lawyer had cheated on his wife. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Facing backlash for a tweet in which he appeared to intimidate Michael Cohen by accusing him of marital infidelity, Rep. Matt Gaetz is now urging supporters to “leave the Cohen family alone.”

“Regardless of disagreements, family members should be off-limits from attacks from representatives, senators & presidents, including myself,” Gaetz tweeted Wednesday night.

On Tuesday, on the eve of President Donald Trump’s former fixer’s appearance before the House Oversight Committee, the Florida Republican appeared to try to intimidate Cohen by asking if his wife knew about his “girlfriends.”

Republicans had sought to undermine Cohen’s credibility and cast doubt on his testimony against the president before the Oversight hearing on Wednesday. But some critics said Gaetz’s threat went further, and might have constituted witness tampering.

“Hey @MichaelCohen212,” Gaetz tweeted, tagging Cohen’s Twitter handle. “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...”

Gaetz later deleted the tweet and apologized to Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., a New Jersey Democrat, suggested that Gaetz’s tweet should be taken up by the House Committee on Ethics, saying his action was “grossly unethical and probably illegal.”

The Florida Bar, of which Gaetz is a member, has opened an investigation.

“Any time the words or actions of a Florida lawyer result in complaints, The Florida Bar will fully investigate those complaints through its established grievance process to determine if Bar rules have been violated,” Florida Bar spokeswoman Francine Andía Walker said.

Gaetz called the investigation “frivolous.”

“It seems that The Florida Bar, by its rules, is required to investigate even the most frivolous of complaints,” his office said in a statement.

Gaetz, an ally of Trump, was at one point present in the Oversight Committee hearing room on Wednesday.

Chris Cioffi and Griffin Connolly contributed to this report

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