House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Thursday told reporters that GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.), who’s under federal investigation for sex trafficking allegations, is “innocent until proven guilty” and that Gaetz will not be punished unless charges are filed.
Asked during a Thursday press conference whether the scandal-racked Florida congressman would keep his seat on the House Judiciary Committee due to its oversight of the Justice Department, the House GOP leader said: “Matt Gaetz is the same as any American, he’s innocent until proven guilty. There’s no charges against him yet. If a charge comes forward, that will be dealt with at that time.”
MORE ON REP. GAETZ: ‘Women’ of Gaetz’s office sign letter defending congressman
The House GOP leader has previously vowed to strip Gaetz of his committee assignments if the allegations against the embattled congressman are proven to be true—specifically, that he had allegedly engaged in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, potentially facing federal sex trafficking charges if found to be true.
Gaetz has denied the allegations against him, and refuses to resign from Congress.
MORE ON REP. GAETZ: First GOP lawmakers calls for Gaetz’s resignation
“I’ve spoken to Mr. Gaetz about the accusations. He’s told me he’s innocent of the accusations,” McCarthy also told reporters Thursday, adding: “I explained to Mr. Gaetz the rules inside our conference. If there was something to come forward, we would take action.”
“As of right now, Matt Gaetz says he is innocent, there’s an investigation going on and I’ll let the investigation take care of itself,” McCarthy said at another point during the press conference.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.
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Alec Baldwin Lowest of the Low; Blames Victim For Shooting ‘Everything is at her Direction’
“Just when you think Alec Baldwin can’t go any lower, he blames Halyna Hutchins, the woman he shot to death, for getting shot to death” writes the New York Post. Naturally, Baldwin gifted his first interview since the tragic death of Hutchins to his Hampton’s buddy and leftwing media host George Stephanopoulos.
“Everything is at her direction,” Baldwin told George Stephanopoulos during the hourlong interview that aired Thursday night on ABC. Ultimately the entire one hour can be summed up by Baldwin’s twelve words: “Someone is responsible for what happened, and I know it’s not me.”
For any viewers looking for anything particularly meaningful from Baldwin or for him to answer tough questions, a sit-down with his liberal elite buddy was not the place to get it. “I’m holding the gun where she told me to hold it,” Baldwin said, “which ended up right below her armpit. Which is what I was told — I don’t know.”
He carried on, “I would never point a gun at anyone, and pull the trigger at them. Never.” Oddly he had just finished describing how he was pointing the gun at Hutchins.
Agent Bobby Chacon, a retired FBI agent who works as a writer and on-set consultant for Hollywood stated “The bullet striking and killing that woman came out of the barrel of the gun pointed directly at her…Bullets don’t curve. He isn’t in ‘The Matrix.’ The trigger would still have to be pulled.”
“I’m not aware of any gun firing itself,” says Steve Wolf, a Hollywood firearms and special-effects expert since 1994. “I’ve never seen a gun self-discharge. A single-action revolver like this” — the Colt that Baldwin fired — “can be discharged very easily, with minimal input required … The trigger still must have been pressed.”
Wolf is also outraged by a larger concern. “It’s really important to discredit anyone who claims that guns fire themselves,” he says. “If this becomes an acceptable defense, there goes any accountability when it comes to shooting people. We can’t have this kind of ‘guns shoot themselves’ thing. They don’t.”
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