Former President Donald Trump released a statement on Wednesday denying claims made by The New York Times that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) requested a preemptive pardon from the former President.
"Congressman Matt Gaetz has never asked me for a pardon," Trump wrote in a press release. "It must also be remembered that he has totally denied the accusations against him."
The New York Times published a story on Tuesday, citing two anonymous sources, asserting that Gaetz had asked Trump to issue him and multiple other congressmen a preemptive pardon. The Times acknowledged that it is unclear whether Gaetz was even aware of the FBI investigation into his alleged conduct at the time.
Gaetz is facing allegations that he brought a 17-year-old girl across state lines for the purpose of bringing her to a state where it was legal to have sexual relations. No evidence has been presented backing the claim and no alleged victim has been publicly identified.
Gaetz has denied all wrongdoing and has asserted that he and his family are the victims of an extortion scheme. According to Gaetz, a former official at the Department of Justice sought to scam his family out of $25 million under the threat of sparking an investigation.
Gaetz has not presented evidence of the extortion scheme, but has publicly named former DOJ prosecutor David McGee as the man behind the scheme. McGee has asserted that Gaetz's claims amount to defamation.