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Rep. Gaetz denies 'witness tampering' in this tweet that led to immediate outrage

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'It's total gangster stuff'

Image Source: YouTube screenshot

Democrats pounced on a tweet from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) that they said amounted to witness tampering against Michael Cohen on the eve of his public testimony before Congress against the president.

Cohen, who was President Donald Trump's longtime lawyer and friend, testified behind closed doors at Congress on Tuesday and will speak publicly on Wednesday.

"Hey [Michael Cohen] - Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends?" he tweeted. "Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat."

"I wonder if she'll remain faithful when you're in prison," he chided. "She's about to learn a lot..."

Gaetz was widely criticized for what many saw as a threat to a witness against the president, and some said rose to the level of witness tampering.

"It's total gangster stuff," responded CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin," the problem with pursuing that in some sort of law enforcement context, is that the president has tweeted worse things about Michael Cohen!"

Reporters pressed Gaetz on whether his tweet was witness tampering, and he completely denied the allegation.

"Absolutely not, it's witness testing," Gaetz responded, indicating that he intended to force Cohen to answer questions about his private life at the congressional hearing.

"When people come before the Congress with an intent to perpetuate their continuous lies," he continued, "we have an opportunity and I would say an obligation to test who those people lie to.

"We already know that Michael Cohen lies to Congress," he added, "we already know that he lies to law enforcement.

"Now we're going to find out if he also lies to those people closest to him," Gaetz concluded, "and I think that will tell a lot about his ability to tell the truth."

Here's the CNN reaction to Gaetz's tweet:

Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz threatens Michael Cohen in tweetwww.youtube.com

[Ed. Note: This article has been updated to correct a typo that misidentified Gaetz as a Democrat rather than a Republican.]

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