Big sigh: the Matt Gaetz story

Oh, I so don’t want to do this. And I didn’t. Not really. It’s Harper’s in its Weekly Review that ran the whole story with all of its roots and shoots and craziness.

I confess having had problems following the entire business because, in a nutty way, it is both simple and complicated. That is, it consists of many crazy and stupid layers of fact and lies one on top of the other. In many ways, it might not be worth peeling them off. But because Harper’s went to the trouble of laying it all out and I think the world of Harper’s, here is what they tell us. Buckle up.

It was reported that the Justice Department is investigating Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida, the chief opponent of a 2015 bill in the Florida state legislature that prohibited revenge porn, for violating federal sex-trafficking laws. Mobile payment receipts show that Gaetz and Joel Greenberg, the former tax collector for Seminole County, Florida, who was indicted on charges of, among more than 30 other things, sex trafficking and the embezzlement of over $400,000 of COVID-19 relief funds for a cryptocurrency-mining operation, had transferred money as payment for sex into the accounts of women they had allegedly recruited online; the DOJ is also investigating whether Gaetz, Greenberg, and other members of their social circle had sex with a minor. Gaetz, who grew up in the house that served as the set of the 1998 film The Truman Show, denied the allegations on Tucker Carlson Tonight, in which he also asserted that Carlson, his wife, and one of the women involved in the case once had dinner together and that David McGee, a former federal prosecutor, had attempted to extort Gaetz’s father for $25 million in order to locate Robert A. Levinson, a former FBI agent who disappeared in 2007 during an unauthorized CIA mission to Iran, as well as to secure a pardon for the younger Gaetz. “He threw Levinson and the entire Levinson family under the bus,” said Robert Kent, a former Air Force intelligence officer who, along with Stephen Alford, a real estate developer who was convicted of fraud, had asked Gaetz’s father for the money in order to search for Levinson, despite the fact that Levinson was officially declared dead by the Trump Administration last year; Kent claimed that he mentioned the federal investigation “not to extort” but because “he might be interested in doing something good.” Donald Trump, a former friend of the convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, allegedly said the Gaetz scandal seemed “really bad.”

I just re-read it and am thinking we should all treat this as a sort of jigsaw puzzle with missing and superfluous pieces belonging to another puzzle. Everything got mixed up in the box.

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