A rep for the state’s bar association confirmed to Daily Beast that the org had opened an investigation into whether the threat issued by the licensed attorney violated professional rules of conduct.
“It seems that the Florida bar, by its rules, is required to investigate even the most frivolous of complaints,” Gaetz rep said in a statement about the probe.
“Hey @MichaelCohen212 – 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,” Gaetz had tweeted late Tuesday afternoon, adding, “She’s about to learn a lot…”
Donald Trump Seeks Court Order To Block Release Of Tax Returns To House Committee
News of the Mob-by threat immediately ripped through Washington, where it got compared to Trump’s tweeted threat to Cohen’s father, which caused Cohen to cancel his appearance before the committee, saying he feared for the safety of his family in the wake of that threat.
Watch on Deadline
Though Gaetz wound up taking down the tweet Tuesday night after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi threatened him with an ethics committee probe, he continued his Mob-like performance Wednesday morning when he suddenly appeared in the hall where Cohen’s appearance was about to get underway and conspicuously walked the breadth of the room to make sure Camp Cohen got a good look at him.
Gaetz is not on the House Oversight Committee and had no business being there. But, as TV pundits like Carl Bernstein noted, the Mob likes to send people into courts to sit in the gallery and intimidate witnesses.
Hours after threatening Cohen, Gaetz deleted his tweeted threat and apologized to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had smacked him down in a statement suggesting the House Ethics Committee get involved.
“While it is important 2 create context around the testimony of liars like Michael Cohen, it was NOT my intent to threaten, as some believe I did,” Gaetz tweeted hours before showing up at the committee hearing to remind Cohen of the threat by his very presence.
“I’m deleting the tweet & I should have chosen words that better showed my intent. I’m sorry.”
He was responding to Pelosi’s threat to have him investigated by the Ethics Committee.
“Comments made on social media or in the press can adversely affect the ability of House Committees to obtain the truthful and complete information.”
“Such statements can be construed as not reflecting credibility on the House and the Committee on Ethics should vigilantly monitor these types of statements, which may not be protected by the Speech or Debate Clause,” Pelosi warned him.
Previous: With President Donald Trump half way around the world in Hanoi to meet with North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un, it fell to his most ardent supporter, Florida’s GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz to threaten Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen on the eve of his public testimony before the House Oversight Committee.
“Hey @MichaelCohen212 – 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,” He continued, adding, “She’s about to learn a lot…”
The tweet caused an eczema of punditry to break out in Washington as to whether Gaetz’s threat qualified as witness tampering, which is a federal crime.
“It’s witness testing!” Gaetz boasted to reporters on Capitol Hill, when asked if he was witness tampering.
It was understandable. After all, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders hadn’t gotten nearly so much attention, or press, with her statement about Cohen’s testimony: “It’s laughable that anyone would take a convicted liar like Cohen at his word, and pathetic to see him given yet another opportunity to spread his lies.”
And all the RNC had come up with was a lame ad, telling Cohen “HAVE FUN IN PRISON!”
Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis responded to Gaetz’s “despicable lies and personal smears,” adding “we trust that his colleagues in the House, both Republicans and Democrats, will repudiate his words and his conduct. I also trust that his constituents will not appreciate that their congressman has set a new low – which in today’s political culture is hard to imagine as possible.”
Previously, of course, the president did his own Cohen threatening, which had the effect of causing his former personal attorney to back out of testifying, saying he was concerned for his family’s safety.
The public testimony got rescheduled for Wednesday, at 10 AM ET, and should draw quite a crowd. Cohen busy schedule this week includes testifying before three committees on the Hill: Tuesday behind closed doors to the Senate Intel Committee, Wednesday on camera before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and on Thursday he’s back behind closed doors in front of the House Intelligence Committee.
Cohen is expected to say, among other things, that Trump directed him to commit various crimes, including the illegal hush money payments to two of Trump’s alleged former sex partners, as well as lying to Congress about the timeline of negotiations for a Trump Tower Moscow.
Emerging late Tuesday from the first of Cohen’s all-day committee meetings, a haggard Senate Intel Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner gave reporters a short but strong statement:
“Two years ago when this investigation started I said it may be the most important thing I’m involved in in my public life in the senate. And nothing I have heard today dissuades me from that view.”
Cohen pleaded guilty last year to multiple financial fraud charges and to lying to Congress. He now is scheduled to start his three-year prison sentence in May.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.