McCarthy: House GOP would respond to Gaetz allegations if true, but 'let's get all the information'

"Right now Matt Gaetz says that it's not true, and we don't have any information," the House GOP leader said.

Updated: March 31, 2021 - 2:32pm

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Wednesday that fellow GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz would lose his committee assignments if allegations about an alleged illicit relationship with a 17-year-old girl were proven true. 

McCarthy, a California Republican, made the statement less than 24 hours after Gaetz, a Florida Republican, confirmed a months-long Justice Department investigation related to a former relationship but denied criminal wrongdoing.

"Those are serious implications," McCarthy told Fox News. "If it comes out to be true, yes, we would remove him if that's the case. But right now, Matt Gaetz says that it's not true, and we don't have any information. So let's get all the information."

Gaetz, a President Trump supporter and an outspoken conservative, is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paying her to travel with him. And he is under investigation to determine whether he violated federal sex trafficking laws, a person familiar with the case told the Associated Press.

The 38-year-old Gaetz has also suggested the allegations are connected to an attempt to blackmail his family. 

McCarthy also suggested that Gaetz would keep his committee assignment, including one on the Judiciary Committee, during the federal investigation, according to The Hill.

News of the alleged sexual trafficking investigation into Gaetz was first reported Tuesday by The New York Times.

The newspaper's report states the probe related Gaetz is part of a broader investigation into a political ally of the congressman, a local official in Florida named Joel Greenberg, who was indicted last summer on charges including sex trafficking of a child and financially supporting people in exchange for sex, including an underage female.