Gaetz said Trump then told White House attorney Pat Cipollone, who was in the room, to tell Attorney General William Barr that Trump believed Keefe’s legal theory was valid.
When Barr found out about Gaetz’s conversation with the President, he was outraged. The attorney general called the US attorney and, according to two people familiar with the call, gave him an ear.
“If I ever hear from you talking to Gaetz or any other congressman about business in front of the department, I’ll fucking fire your ass,” said Barr, one of the people with knowledge of the call.
Gaetz said he knew nothing about irritated conversations.
“I am not aware of any discussion Barr has had with Keefe,” he told POLITICO, “but I received a message from Keefe after my meeting in the Oval that Keefe said he could not discuss these matters with me.” and I felt that the Department of Justice’s policy was that they did not want US attorneys to be very proactive in looking for election fraud in this way. “
Barr declined to comment on this story. A Trump spokesman also declined to comment. A DOJ spokesman declined to comment.
Trump won Florida handily in the 2020 race.
Keefe, like almost every other US attorney appointed by Trump, was asked to resign by the Biden administration and left his post on February 28. Keefe said in a statement, “It is inappropriate for me to comment on details of my previous service as a US attorney. I stand by the decisions I have made and the actions I have taken to comply with and enforce the laws of this nation during my public service. “
Gaetz is reportedly being investigated to see if he was a sex trafficker. He has not been charged with a crime, and no woman has publicly charged him with sexual misconduct in the three weeks since The New York Times reported on the investigation for the first time. He has denied any wrongdoing.
At the time of Keefe and Gaetz’s investigation, the issue of voting rights, particularly in Florida and other swing states, was one of the major national political stories. Republicans have long raised concerns about electoral fraud, which undermines the legitimacy of elections, although numerous studies have shown very few actual cases. Meanwhile, advocates of voting rights went to great lengths to assist people convicted of crimes and serving their sentences to vote.
A landmark 2018 constitutional amendment restored voting rights for those in this category. Some experts have estimated that up to 1.4 million people in Florida could vote who couldn’t before. as reported by ProPublica. However, due to state law and a court ruling, these individuals also had to pay outstanding fines, refunds, and fees before they could vote – what has been termed the 21st century election tax. Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg offered to help pay off the dues, and Florida’s Republican Attorney General asked the FBI to investigate if the move violated any electoral laws.