Donald Trump’s close ally Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz committed felony witness tampering in plain sight on Tuesday evening when he posted a threatening tweet aimed at Michael Cohen, on the eve of Cohen’s public testimony before the House Oversight Committee. Even as we try to recover from the shock of Team Trump reaching a new criminal low, let’s talk about why Gaetz is throwing his life away to try to help Trump.
There are only two possible explanations for why Matt Gaetz posted that tweet about Michael Cohen. The first is that Gaetz was simply too stupid to understand that a tweet like that was going to get him criminally indicted. The second is that Gaetz didn’t care that the tweet was going to get him indicted, because he already has bigger problems to worry about. Now is a good time to take a trip back to July of 2018.
That’s when the Department of Justice revealed indictments against a dozen Russian government hackers. In the indictment it was revealed that after the Russians stole DNC emails and gave them to WikiLeaks, but before WikiLeaks publicly released them, an unnamed 2016 candidate for Congress reportedly obtained those emails from the Russians and used them in the campaign.
We still have no idea who that candidate is. However, right after this news was revealed, Donald Trump made a point of tweeting a glowing endorsement of Matt Gaetz, despite being in the midst of an overseas trip. Did this mean that Gaetz was the 2016 candidate referenced in the indictment, and that Trump’s tweet was his way of urging Gaetz not to flip? Or did Gaetz have nothing to do with the indictments, and Trump’s tweet was just a grand coincidence? Also, is it a coincidence that Matt Gaetz is friends with Roger Stone, who’s been indicted for his role in the theft of those emails?
We’re not the ones who dragged Matt Gaetz’s name into it, of course; Donald Trump did that. But Gaetz just posted a tweet that anyone with even a basic understanding of U.S. law would understand was going to result in 1) the end of his career, and 2) the potential for prison. Is Gaetz already in so much legal trouble, he figured he had nothing else to lose, and he’s playing for a pardon? Or did Gaetz just stupidly throw his life away for no reason?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report