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Archive for September 20th, 2022

Congressman Matt Gaetz Asked For Preemptive Pardon

By Allan Lengel

Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz said he did nothing wrong. Nonetheless, he sought a preemptive pardon in the final months of the Trump administration regarding an investigation by the Justice Department into whether he violated federal sex trafficking laws, the Washington Post reports. He never got it.

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida.

Former White House aide Johnny McEntee, according to people familiar with his testimony, told the Jan. 6 committee that Gaetz told him during a brief meeting “that they are launching an investigation into him or that there’s an investigation into him.”

McEntee added that Gaetz told him “he did not do anything wrong but they are trying to make his life hell, and you know, if the president could give him a pardon, that would be great.” Gaetz told McEntee that he had asked White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows for a pardon, the Post reports.

The Justice Department probe centered around whether Gaetz paid for sex, paid for women to travel across state lines to have sex, and had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old, the Post reports.

Gaetz has not been charged with any crimes but his associate Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector for Seminole County, Fla., pleaded guilty in the spring of 2021 to six criminal charges, including sex trafficking of a minor. Greenberg is cooperating with authorities.

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FBI Police Officer Charged With Soliciting Minor Online

By Allan Lengel

FBI police officer Dale Edward Cheuvront faces a charge in Clarksburg, W. Virginia of soliciting a minor online.

Last Friday, he pleaded not guilty in Harrison County and was released on $10,000 bond, according to station WBOY. He was first arrested Aug. 20.

The FBI issued a statement to the station:

We are aware of the arrest of an FBI employee. The FBI takes allegations of misconduct very seriously. As such, the incident has been referred to the FBI’s Inspection Division. We cannot comment further on an ongoing personnel matter.

Ex-FBI Assistant Director Warns That Trump’s Embrace of QAnon Is the ‘Last Act of a Desperate Man’

Former Assistant FBI Director Frank Figliuzzi

By Steve Neavling

Former Assistant FBI Director Frank Figliuzzi said former President Trump is embracing the baseless QAnon conspiracy movement as he feels “increasingly cornered.” 

On MSNBC’s “Deadline: Whitehouse,” Figliuzzi was asked if Trump realizes how dangerous the movement is.

“Not only do I think he knows it, but I think that’s what attracts him to this. It’s like a moth to the flame,” Figliuzzi said.

Figliuzzi added, “He’s in trouble on so many legal fronts, even criminal fronts now, that this is, kind of, the almost last act of a desperate man.”

Figliuzzi mentioned Trump’s rally in Youngstown, Ohio, where a song that is similar to the QAnon movement’s anthem played. Supporters responded in raised-arm salutes.

“What is extremely dangerous based on past histories of cults, is that as they come near the end, as the leader is threatened, they get more and more dangerous,” Figliuzzi said. “And they do something cult experts call ‘forcing the end.'”

This could occur if the movement’s leader “calls for the violence” or is “taken out,” Figliuzzi explained. 

“The members take a step up and force the ending — whatever that could be,” Figliuzzi said. “That’s what concerns me and we’ve learned from January 6, it only takes a small number of people to do that.”