Two people familiar with the discussions told The New York Times that the Republican congressman privately sought pardons for any crimes he may have committed and for his congressional allies during the final weeks of Trump's presidency. After all, the probe began while Bill Barr was still Attorney General (a role Barr served in until December 23).
Gaetz previously voiced his support for Trump's presidential pardons, appearing on Laura Ingraham's Fox News show on November 24 to declare that Trump should "pardon Michael Flynn, he should pardon the Thanksgiving turkey, he should pardon everyone from himself to his administration officials to Joe Exotic if he has to".
Gaetz, whose official Twitter contains a header with a photo of himself and Trump, was a central figure on the MAGA-era right and a frequent presence at the former President's rally events. He should pardon the Thanksgiving turkey. Gaetz has been alleged to have met women through the tax collector, who was said to be a political ally.
The statement shields Trump from personal exposure for Gaetz's reported pursuit of a preemptive blanket pardon from the Trump administration.
Gaetz added, "I think the president ought to wield that pardon power effectively and robustly".
Gaetz has vehemently denied he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, stating during an interview with Fox News's Tucker Carlson that he is being accused of having a relationship with a teenager that "does not exist".
Gaetz has repeatedly denied the allegations against him. "Those comments have been on the record for some time, and President Trump even retweeted the congressman, who tweeted them out himself".
Over the past four years, there may have been no member of Congress more loyal or eager to defend Trump from his critics.
"Congressman Matt Gaetz has never asked me for a pardon", Trump said in a statement.