Matt Gaetz Blasts Investigation, Says He is a 'Wanted Man by the Deep State'

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) described himself as a "canceled man" and a "wanted man by the deep state" as he launched a new attack on Friday against a federal probe into sex trafficking allegations.

"We have a right to confront our accusers in this country. How about that?" he told an America First rally in Florida.

"There can be no due process here if the only process due to conservatives is to see leaks embroidered onto lies, then just endlessly repeated by the America last media," he added.

Gaetz took a shot at CNN, joking the network would portray the America First rally on his birthday as a "wild party surrounded by beautiful women."

Gaetz is under investigation by the Department of Justice over claims that he engaged in a sexual relationship with an underage girl and paid for her to travel with him.

The Florida firebrand Republican has not been charged and denies all the allegations. Speaking at the rally, Gaetz cracked a thinly-veiled joke about how sections of the media would portray his appearance at the event.

"Today is my birthday. And I already know how CNN's gonna report it. 'Matt Gaetz has wild party surrounded by beautiful women in The Villages.' So just get ready for it," he told the crowd assembled at The Villages, a retirement community northwest of Orlando for people aged 55 or older.

News of the DoJ inquiry into Gaetz was first reported by The New York Times back in March. According to the report, the probe was set up under former Attorney General William P. Barr and focused on whether Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws, under which it is illegal to entice a person under 18 years of age to travel over state lines to engage in sexual activity in return for money or some other sort of payment.

Gaetz, who co-headlined the event alongside Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA.), has repeatedly dismissed the accusations and claimed a former DoJ official was using sexual misconduct allegations to extort him and his family for $25 million.

Last week, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CAL) renewed calls for Gaetz to be removed from the House Judiciary Committee immediately while he remains under federal investigation.

Speaking to MSNBC, Lieu said that Gaetz had the right to the presumption of innocence but not to retain the committee assignment.

"Like all Americans, Congressman Matt Gaetz is entitled to the presumption of innocence but he is not entitled to sit on the House Judiciary Committee," Lieu said.

"That is an honor and a privilege and this committee has jurisdiction over the Department of Justice, which is the very department that has opened a criminal investigation in which Matt Gaetz is a subject."

On Friday night, Gaetz and Greene, who was one of the high-profile Republicans who first leapt to Gaetz's defense when news of the DoJ probe first emerged, criticized the media for "being fake news".

Gaetz also bashed Twitter and Facebook as "Internet hall monitors out in Silicon Valley," in response to the latter's decision earlier this week to uphold a ban on former President Donald Trump.

Matt Gaetz
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fl) speaks during the "Save America Summit" at the Trump National Doral golf resort on April 9 in Doral, Florida. Mr. Gaetz addressed the summit hosted by Women for America First as the Justice Department is investigating the Congressman for allegations of sex with a minor and child sex trafficking. Joe Raedle/Getty Images