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‘Innocent until proven guilty’: McCarthy says no punishment for Gaetz unless charges filed

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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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Elections

House Republicans Subpoena DOJ for Records of Biden’s Interview with Special Counsel

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Joe Biden

Special Counsel Robert Hur determined that President Joe Biden not only mishandled classified documents, but he also declined to press charges against him because his advanced age and declining memory would influence a potential jury.

“Mr. Biden will likely present himself to the jury, as he did during his interview with our office, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” Hur wrote.

House Republicans have subpoenaed the Department of Justice (DOJ) for the interview transcripts, audio, notes and video files from Hur’s interview with Biden which transpired during the investigation.

“The Committees further seek to understand whether the White House or President Biden’s personal attorneys placed any limitations or scoping restrictions during the interviews with Special Counsel Hur or Mr. Mark Zwonitzer precluding or addressing any potential statements directly linking President Biden to troublesome foreign payments,” the lawmakers said in a subpoena cover letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland.

“Special Counsel Hur’s report outlined that classified documents Joe Biden stashed for years relate to countries where his family cashed in on the Biden brand. We owe it to the American people to provide transparency and accountability about the extent of Joe Biden retaining sensitive materials and the concerns raised about his current mental state and fitness to be President of the United States,” Comer said in a statement. Comer, Jordan and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R., Mo.) are leading the impeachment inquiry.

“Special Counsel Robert Hur’s investigation into President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents made two things clear: there’s a double standard of justice in this country and Joe Biden isn’t fit for office. The transcripts and materials from his investigation are critical to our oversight work,” Jordan stated.

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