- Rep. Matt Gaetz questioned FBI Director Christopher Wray at a judiciary committee hearing Thursday.
- The scene was unusual: Gaetz is himself under investigation by FBI over claims of sex trafficking.
- Gaetz has retained his place on the panel despite calls for him to be removed.
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Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who is under investigation by the FBI, was in the unusual position Thursday of questioning the director of the agency, Christopher Wray, as part of congressional oversight hearings.
Gaetz is currently being investigated by FBI over allegations that he was involved in sex trafficking with a former tax official, Joel Greenberg.
He was able to participate because he is part of the he House Judiciary Committee, despite calls from Democrats for him to be removed in light of the allegations against him.
-CSPAN (@cspan) June 10, 2021
On Thursday Wray appeared before the committee and was questioned on several ongoing investigations by lawmakers including Gaetz.
Gaetz has strenuously denied the trafficking allegations, claiming that they are part of a plot against him.
On Thursday Gaetz questioned Wray about the FBI’s investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, an issue Republicans have seized on in recent weeks.
The claim was pushed by Donald Trump and allies in the early months of the pandemic, but was initially dismissed by the World Health Organization and experts. In recent months it has gained renewed credibility.
“I have to be careful not to discuss specific investigations,” Wray replied. He continued: “There are differences of view within the intelligence community about the origins of the coronavirus and we’re taking a deeper dive on that subject.”
Harlan Hill, a spokesman for Gaetz, defended his participation on the panel.
In a statement to Insider, Hill said: “Rep. Gaetz questioned FBI director Wray on the protection of a Chinese whistleblower with the aim of getting to the bottom of one of the largest looming questions in the world right now: the origins and CCP cover-up of COVID-19.
“He intends to continue this avenue of inquiry, despite the abetting of Chinese Communists that his partisan ‘critics’ may prefer.”
In April Rep. Ted Lieu, a Democrat and fellow judiciary committee member, said Gaetz should be removed from the panel after it emerged that he was under investigation.
Lieu said his continued presence violated conflict-of-interest rules. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said removal should come at a later point, if the allegations against him are shown to be true.
Gaetz also faces a separate House Ethics Committee probe into allegations that he engaged in sexual misconduct and illicit drugs use, and shared explicit images of women on the House floor.