McCain said, "There have always been weird rumors about Matt Gaetz on Capitol Hill". Also on Monday, Vanity Fair published an op-ed by Hill where she acknowledged that Gaetz was one of the few people who defended her after nude photos of her were leaked online, but said now he is "accused of doing just that" and should resign "immediately" if any of the allegations are true.
The three-term congressman is now under investigation by the Department of Justice over allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him, according to The New York Times' original report based on sources briefed on the probe.
Bob Kent, a former Air Force intelligence officer, told CNN's Chris Cuomo on "Prime Time" that - despite Gaetz's claims - he never tried to extort money from Gaetz's father, and that such claims are not part of the Justice Department investigation into allegations involving sex trafficking and prostitution.
Gaetz's office did not reply to Insider's request for comment. The alleged extortion attempt came on March 16, about eight months after the Department of Justice reportedly began its investigation.
In response to the report, Gaetz denied the allegations in an interview with Fox News' Tucker Carlson.
Gaetz's broadside defense against his critics and the DOJ investigation does not acknowledge the reported beginnings of the sex trafficking inquiry-or mention Barr whatsoever.
Gaetz said since becoming engaged, he has changed his lifestyle, but nothing he did before in his personal life was illegal.
Nelson, who said he remains "loosely affiliated" with Gaetz's office as an unpaid adviser, stated that he notified Gaetz's office that he had spoken to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, but that he has not spoken to the congressman personally in months. The private law firm where McGee works said in a public statement that Gaetz's allegations were false and defamatory.
Nelson explained that the Federal Bureau of Investigation showed up at his home and interviewed him shortly after the allegations against Gaetz hit the news, and agents claimed media sources had contacted them asserting that Nelson left Gaetz's office because of the accusations surrounding the congressman. "Consensual adult relationships are not illegal", Gaetz said. Nelson said the Federal Bureau of Investigation agents told him members of the national media were chasing leads that Nelson resigned because he knew about Gaetz's illicit behavior.
Nelson said that was false, and his departure from Gaetz's office had been planned in advance. "Neither I nor any other member of Congressman Gaetz's staff had any knowledge of illegal activities", Nelson said at his home in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.
"This baseless claim against me leaves me further convinced that the allegations against Congressman Gaetz are likewise fabricated and merely an attempt to discredit a very vocal conservative", Nelson said.