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Florida Congressman Faces Allegations of Witness Tampering Before Cohen Testimony

Meredith Geddings
Florida House of Representatives
Rep. Matt Gaetz

A Florida congressman posted a taunting message to President Donald Trump's former lawyer on Tuesday.

Less than 18 hours before Michael Cohen was scheduled to begin his testimony, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz tweeted at him, “Hey @MichaelCohen212 - Do your wife and 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 the tweet was spread by both supporters and opponents of Gaetz’ message, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi tweeted a few hours later that members of Congress should be mindful of the comments they make on social media and that “the Committee on Ethics should vigilantly monitor these types of statements, which may not be protected by the speech or debate clause.”

Gaetz shared Pelosi’s statement with an apology and, then, deleted his original message to Cohen. 

That did not stop calls for action on what many felt was witness tampering on the part of Gaetz, and the Democratic Coalition tweeted its intent to file a House Ethics complaint on the matter Wednesday.

Gaetz represents Florida’s 1st Congressional District, covering most of the panhandle, but he was not a member of the House Oversight Committee that questioned Cohen on Wednesday. Despite that, he was in the room, and images of him standing off to the side quickly circulated on social media.

His opponents say that physical presence bolstered claims of witness tampering and intimidation.