Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) is continuing to push for the removal of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) from the House Judiciary Committee amid a criminal investigation into the Florida Congressman for potential offenses including child sex trafficking. Although Gaetz has denied the allegations — and claimed that the whole thing is some kind of political plot to take him down, the investigation has continued. Not too long ago, an ex-girlfriend of the Congressman was reported to have testified before a grand jury dealing with the case, and more recently, Joe Ellicott — an associate of Gaetz’s “wingman” Joel Greenberg, who’s pleaded guilty to child sex trafficking — pleaded guilty to both involvement in fraud and illegally selling drugs and agreed to provide information, including (apparently) about Gaetz, to authorities. On Twitter, Lieu commented as follows:
‘Republican Rep Matt Gaetz is entitled to the presumption of innocence. He is not entitled to sit on the [House Judiciary] Committee that has oversight over the Department investigating him for sex crimes. [GOP leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)] needs to remove him from the Judiciary Committee.’
Republican Rep Matt Gaetz is entitled to the presumption of innocence. He is not entitled to sit on the @HouseJudiciary Committee that has oversight over the Department investigating him for sex crimes. @GOPLeader needs to remove him from the Judiciary Committee. https://t.co/V1KUcQZfLl
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) January 24, 2022
The problem, of course, is that Kevin McCarthy isn’t exactly known for his eagerness to hold House Republicans accountable. After Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) was revealed to have previously expressed support on social media for executing prominent Democrats, and after Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) shared an edited and partly animated video that depicted him murdering Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), it fell to the full House to take action. Both Greene and Gosar were removed from their committee spots in the House, and Gosar was also censured — and McCarthy was among the many Republicans who voted against taking disciplinary moves against either member.
Ellicot voluntarily pleaded guilty to an information instead of requiring the US Atty to seek a grand jury indictment. This means he had a plea deal in place before he was charged & is cooperating, apparently against Gaetz. https://t.co/oMZDjtRJQS
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) January 26, 2022
Observers have decried McCarthy as essentially a craven opportunist. As Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) put it, McCarthy “will do whatever Donald Trump wants him to do, and if Donald Trump wants him to overturn the next election because Trump loses again, McCarthy will do it, and that is a real and present threat to our democracy.” McCarthy could become Speaker if Republicans win control of the House in the upcoming midterm elections this year.
Breaking: A key witness in the sex trafficking case against Matt Gaetz has pleaded guilty. In exchange, he has promised to fully cooperate with prosecutors. His attorney told The Daily Beast that he has been cooperating against Gaetz. https://t.co/Fq5ZsNBvao
— Roger Sollenberger found true love, suckers (@SollenbergerRC) January 26, 2022