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Gaetz Twitter Storm Rated a Category 3

March 1, 2019 - 11:00am
Matt Gaetz
Matt Gaetz

Severe but not fatal -- that’s the prognosis for the professional and political future of Donald Trump acolyte and Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz after he verbally attacked government witness Michael Cohen on Tuesday.

That was one day before Cohen gave damning testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that depicted the president as a racist, con man., and law breaker.  Due to the timing of the tweet, Gaetz was accused by many politicians and social media lions of engaging in witness tampering.

Here is Gaetz’ Twitter attack that mainstream media almost universally refers to as a “smear”:

Hey @MichaelCohen212,” Gaetz tweeted, tagging Cohen’s Twitter handle. “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…”

Gaetz removed the Tweet hours after posting it and apologized on Twitter for having written it, saying that while he wanted to “create context around the testimony of liars like Michael Cohen,” it “was NOT my intent to threaten as some believe I did.”

“I should have chosen words that better showed my intent. I’m sorry.”

That relatively quick backtrack probably saved Gaetz major professional problems, but the political fallout will be longlasting, according to seasoned observers.

The Florida Bar immediately opened an investigation of Gaetz. On Thursday, the Democratic Coalition, a political action committee, said it had filed a complaint against Gaetz with the Office of Congressional Ethics alleging the congressman’s tweet violated federal criminal law, the House Code of Official Conduct, and House rules.Thanks 

Naturally, social media also chimed in.  The following post and other similar ones have gone viral:

“Matt Gaetz is a licensed attorney in Florida. His Bar Number is 48962. He violated 18 U.S.C. § 1512. He could be charged with a felony for witness tampering but this is also grounds for disbarment. Feel free to call the Florida Bar and file an official complaint. The number is 1-866-352-0707. Please copy and repost.”

Despite the uproar, mostly friom the left, two legal experts interviewed by Tampa Bay Beat firmly believe a Gaetz disbarment is a wild long shot.

A prominent Tampa Bay attorney asserted that Gaetz’ expeditious apology mitigated what could have become a far worse professional outcome for the Panhandle congressman.

”Gaetz’ Tweet can easily be construed as a threat to a witness, something the Florida Bar takes extremely seriously,” the attorney said.  “Even so, I would be surprised if punishment goes beyond a severe reprimand.”

Someone familiar with Florida Bar practices said its  Lawyer Regulation Department has wide latitude in deciding whether to aggressively pursue an investigation of Gaetz.  Discipline imposed, if any, would ultimately be up to the Florida Supreme Court.

“My gut feeling is that it won’t go very far and that even if there is ultimately some sort of sanction, it would be light,” the source suggested. “Additionally, the U.S. House could refer the matter to its Ethics Committee.”

Both sources said a Gaetz disbarment is difficult to imagine.

Politically, Gaetz’ future is far more cloudy.  Yes, his district constituents could continually re-elect him but his stock has already fallen from rising star to shooting star.  Once mentioned as having the inside track on a high-profile job within the Trump administration, a Gaetz appointment now carries baggage of Pullmanesque proportions.

The two-term congressman represents a deep red district in Florida’s Panhandle.  He won with 69 percent of the vote in 2016 and 67 percent in 2018.

During his congressional tenure, Gaetz has served as a member of the Budget Committee, the Armed Services Committee, and the Judiciary Committee.

 

Jim Bleyer, a former reporter at the Orlando Sentinel and Tampa Tribune, writes the Tampa Bay Beat blog.

Comments

None of this conversation is of importance in the scheme of things. Do you like what Trump is producing or not? That will determine the outcome of the 2020 election. Personalities are fun to praise and condemn or whatever. Of no importance. The direction our country is headed is important. Do we feel wealthier? Do we feel safer? Do we feel more optimistic about our future? And, so on. Have a good day pursuing happiness in a free country. We are the luckiest people on this planet and we will fight to the death to keep it that way!

As a member of the Florida Bar since 1982 without a blemish on my record, you not do not issue statements attempting to intimidate witnesses before Congress or anywhere else. It is no laughing matter. As an officer of the Court, you are held to a much higher standard than the average citizen. At the very least, Gaetz will likely suffer a humiliating public reprimand from the Florida Supreme Court. I have seen these administered by the Florida Supreme Court. It is, for a lawyer, about the closest thing allowable compared to a public whipping. It is thoroughly dishonorable.

Get over yourselves Libs,.. Is there ANYTHING you fools don't whine & cry about??? Keep up the pressure Matt...( pretty soon their heads are gonna "explode"... I predict around December 2020, when there will be a "mass Lib Lemming caravan running over the cliff"...)

Website:- http://intuittechnicalsupports.com/ Hi, Your article is very informative and has a lot of information. I really like your effort, keep posting.

Gaetz is a scumbag, has 16 traffic violations, DUI's, got caught making racist statements, and is calling Cohen a convicted liar. Cohen's got Trump on tape admitting to the payments. How could this dork argue that point or any other when he and Trump lie everyday, usually multiple times a day? Cohen is a dirt bag, but I'm sure he's not going to lie anymore w/o proof of his honesty, or he risks being charged again and going to jail for even longer. Trump has nothing to lose, he can lie or say whatever he wants because they are not going to indict a sitting president, but they probably should. He is open season next year, that draft dodger is dirtier than a mud lump...

That hearing was as bad as anything on SNL!Cohen's "damning testimony" was nothing more than a list of Democrat name calling talking points & the House oversight & Gov't Reform Committee is a great example of why we need true oversight & Gov't reform.I hard as it is to keep still Gaetz should have just let the liars have their liar fest.Honestly,the Democrats do worse everyday & there's no dust up.I'll quote the Queen of Crooked here,"It's a big nothing burger."

Yes, yes, you must be right --> "It's a big nothing burger" . . . . . . . . . 34 indictments and guilty pleas so far BEFORE a Mueller report even hits the streets . . . . . . . . head-in-the-sand Trump deniers . . . . . . . . (and those who fail to proof-read "I hard as it is to keep still Gaetz should") . . . . . . . . . PATHETIC

Well, the clown does have a DUI in his history ... a DUI (with refusal to take a breath test ... for which he never lost his license as the statute requires) that his old man, a member of the Florida senate at the time, apparently massaged him out of ... so ... maybe Matty Mouth is just a bad lush ... and tweeted **** while he was in the bag ???

The fact that this convicted liar is going on and on about being a great family man makes any evidence about having mistresses and girlfriends on the side probative to his truthfulness- or lack thereof . Matt G’s delivery could certainly have been better , but the information he delivered needed to be revealed to the public . Kudos to the Congressman for having the kahunas to at least broach the touchy ( literally) subject .

kahunas, are those Hawaiian balls?

LOL!! First off the person Gatz is defending Trump is a multiple time convicted lair most recently in the TrumpU and Trump Foundation scams...………….And a lot more convictions coming, some criminal that he is not immune from and others they'll wait until he loses in 2020 as everyone is tired of the lies and more lies.'...…...Running 9k lies now on the running counts in only 2 yrs!!…………......And this is whom Gatz is trying to protect......……..And in 2020 Gatz like all those touch by Trump will take the fall, just like Cohen, you eyesee..

TRUMP haters going to lie and hate anyone connected and supported the President. Bad judgment on Matt's part nonetheless.

Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle! Funny how the Republican TrumpNuts go on and on about Cohen being a liar ... while their cult leader ... the actual Liar-In-Chief ... has verifiably lied or misrepresented some 8,500 times during his two years in office ... about a dozen lies per day ... 24/7/365.

He chose to act in a manner similar to his hero, President Trump. It was the act of a bully and can't be ignored. Too often we overlook crass behavior and allow, even cheer, rudeness, racism and bigotry. Courtesy is a lost art and we are diminished as a result. Disbarred? No. Rebuked by Congress? Possibly. Mostly, his constituents will have to decide if his continued service is appropriate.

So a liberal can do this with no questions asked but not a conservative.?

So, the defense is "they did it, why can't I"? That's a throwback to elementary school and the playground. In the end, the actions and attitudes of others are their responsibility. We are all responsible for our own actions and words. We should all realize that actions and yes, words, have consequences. It is the responsibility of each of us to use caution and courtesy in our daily interactions. Matt failed to do so and must in the end answer to Congress and his constituents.

Hopefully the left will be called out when they do this also.

I'll certainly agree with that. Rudeness and incivility in society should not be accepted or tolerated, on any level. Nevertheless, just because someone else acts badly doesn't and shouldn't excuse our own bad behavior. Have a better day. Bblessed

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