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Leading Trump ally faces ethics probe over alleged witness tampering

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) eventually realized he'd made a mistake going after Michael Cohen. By some measures, however, it was too late by then.
Matt Gaetz
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, speaks on the floor of the Florida House of Representatives on April 4, 2013, at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla.

The day before Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony, one of Donald Trump’s most flamboyantly partisan allies sent the former “fixer” an unusual message via Twitter.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) wrote, “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.”

As regular readers may recall, legal experts weighed in almost immediately, suggesting the online missive looked an awful lot like the Republican congressman was trying to influence Cohen’s testimony -- which would be witness tampering, which is a felony.

In the face of difficult questions, Gaetz initially refused to back down, but he hastily retreated soon after.

As Roll Call reported, the reversal didn't help.

Rep. Matt Gaetz faces an inquiry by the House Ethics Committee for a tweet that appeared to threaten former President Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen with blackmail.The House Ethics Committee announced Friday it will establish an investigative subcommittee to review whether Gaetz, a staunch ally of the president, sought to intimidate Cohen before he testified to the House Oversight Committee.

It's worth noting that the Florida Republican might have been able to avoid the ethics investigation, but he refused to sit down with the committee for an interview.

Indeed, the ethics panel requested an interview with Gaetz in May, and at the time, the Floridian was told the probe would move forward if he failed to speak to the committee. He declined anyway.

The investigative subcommittee will be led by Reps. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) and Michael Guest (R-Miss.).