BREAKING: DOJ Declines To Charge Rep. Matt Gaetz in Sex Trafficking Probe

WASHINGTON– The Department of Justice announced Wednesday they will not charge Rep. Matt Gaetz following a probe into allegations of ties to sex trafficking.

DOJ officials notified lawyers for at least one witness in the investigation Wednesday that charges will not be brought against the Florida Republican.

“We have just spoken with the DOJ and have been informed that they have concluded their investigation into Congressman Gaetz and allegations related to sex trafficking and obstruction of justice and they have determined not to bring any charges against him,” Gaetz’s lawyers Marc Mukasey and Isabelle Kirshner said in a statement to CNBC.

The announcement follows a year-long investigation of Gates over alleged connections to Seminole County, Florida, tax collector Joel Greenberg, who pleaded guilty to sex trafficking a minor, identity theft and fraud in May 2021.

Greenberg had previously alleged that Gaetz paid him to arrange sexual encounters with young women though Venmo, but those allegations were found to be without merit according to DOJ sources.

In September, prosecutors at the DOJ reportedly doubted Gaetz would be convicted based on credibility issues uncovered regarding many of the witnesses who testified against him.

“Those who told lies about Congressman Matt Gaetz are going to prison, and Congressman Matt Gaetz is going back to Congress to continue fighting for America,” a spokesman for Gaetz’s office said last year.

Calls for comment to the Department of Justice were not immediately returned.


‘TOO HIGH!’ : Trump slams Feds over interest rate hike

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — President Donald Trump on Thursday cast aside concerns about the Federal Reserve’s independence, saying he was “not happy” with the Fed’s recent interest rate increases.

Trump told CNBC in an interview: “I don’t like all of this work that we’re putting into the economy and then I see rates going up.”

Last month, the Fed raised its benchmark rate for a second time this year and projected two more increases in 2018. Its rate hikes are meant to prevent the economy from overheating and igniting high inflation. But rate increases also make borrowing costlier for households and companies and can weaken the pace of growth. In particular, the Fed’s most recent rate hikes could dilute some of the benefit of the tax cuts Trump signed into law last year.

The president acknowledged that his comments about the Fed would likely raise concerns. The central bank has long been seen as needing to operate free of political pressure from the White House or elsewhere to properly manage interest rate policy.

The Fed’s dual mandate is to maximize employment and stabilize prices. By maintaining its independence, the central bank can make politically contentious decisions to combat economic challenges, like the huge bond purchases it made after the 2008 financial crisis to help drive down long-term rates to support the economy. That policy drew rebukes from many Republican lawmakers.

In February, Jerome Powell, Trump’s hand-picked choice, became Fed chairman. Last week, Powell said in an interview with the radio program Marketplace that he didn’t expect to face pressure from the White House.

“We have a long tradition here of conducting policy in a particular way, and that way is independent of all political concerns,” Powell said. “We do our work in a strictly nonpolitical way, based on detailed analysis, which we put on the record transparently.”

He added, “No one in the administration has said anything to me that really gives me concern on this front.”

The reaction to Trump’s remarks in the financial markets was muted. The U.S. dollar fell to 112.46 yen from 112.84 yen earlier, and yields on Treasurys dipped slightly.

After Trump’s interview with CNBC was made public, Lindsay Walters, a White House spokeswoman, said the president “respects the independence of the Fed.”

“The president’s views on interest rates are well-known, and his comments today are a reiteration of those long held positions, and public comments,” Walters said.

Speaking about Fed policy in his interview with CNBC, Trump said he is “letting them do what they feel is best.”

But his comments raised alarms, including with some former Fed officials who saw in his remarks a possible effort to apply public pressure on the central bank.

“I am not pleased,” said Carl Tannenbaum, a former Chicago Fed official and chief economist at Northern Trust. “The remarks certainly aren’t an immediate threat to Fed independence, but they break with the tradition of respectful distance.”

Randall Kroszner, a former Fed governor, said the central bank has withstood political pressure before and will continue to do so under Powell’s leadership.

“The Fed has often faced political pressures — from Congress, presidents, Treasury secretaries and innumerable outside groups,” said Kroszner, an economics professor at the University of Chicago. “My experience at the Fed is consistent with what Jay Powell recently said — being non-political is deep in the Fed’s DNA — and I believe that Jay will keep it that way.”

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump was highly critical of the Fed and accused its policymakers of keeping rates at ultra-low levels to favor Democrats. But he also told CNBC during the campaign that he is a “low interest-rate-person.”

Past efforts to apply political pressure on the Fed have sometimes hurt the economy. President Richard Nixon encouraged Arthur Burns, the Fed chairman at the time, to help boost economic growth ahead of Nixon’s 1972 landslide re-election. That episode ultimately triggered runaway inflation that took a decade to tame and required raising the Fed’s policy rate above 15 percent — more than eight times the rate’s current average.

George H.W. Bush’s administration complained that he felt the Fed’s failure to cut rates more quickly in 1992 contributed to his re-election defeat that year.

When Robert Rubin led President Bill Clinton’s National Economic Council, he adopted a rule of never commenting on the Fed’s actions — a policy that was subsequently followed by the George W. Bush and Obama administrations.


TRUMP TAKES ON BIG PHARMA: President outlines plan to combat America’s opioid epidemic

MANCHESTER, N.H. — President Donald Trump on Monday unveiled his plan to tackle the nation’s ever-growing opioid epidemic. His first targets, he said, are drug dealers and “big pharma”.

Speaking at a college in New Hamshire, a state rocked by opioid-related deaths, the president said securing our border is another important first step in getting drug abuse under control.

“Ninety percent of the heroin in America comes from our southern border, where eventually the Democrats will agree with us and we’ll build the wall to keep the damn drugs out,” Trump told a crowd, who responded with cheers.

Trump called for stricter penalties for drug dealers, up to and including the death penalty for those convicted of selling drugs illegally.

“Some of these drug dealers will kill thousands of people during their lifetimes,” the president said. This is about winning a very, very tough problem, and if we don’t get tough on these dealers, it’s not going to happen.”

Trump pointed out that leaders of other nations have told him that they do not have a serious drug problem because they have “zero tolerance for drug dealers.”

“Take a look at some of these countries where they don’t play games,” he said. “They don’t have a drug problem. We have court cases that last 10 years and then they get out at the end.”

“We have to be tough. We have to be smart. We have to change the laws and we’re working on that,” the president vowed. “The ultimate penalty has to be the death penalty,” he said.

A White House proposal on the issue leaked to Politico shows Trump is already working toward implementation of the death penalty for drug dealers in “certain cases where opioid, including Fentanyl-related, drug dealing and trafficking are directly responsible for death.”

In response to the president’s proposal, the Justice Department cited 18 USC 3591(b) and 21 USC 848(e), declaring “under current law, the federal death penalty is available for several limited drug-related offenses—for example through violations of the ‘drug kingpin’ provisions”.

The president met the Justice Department’s reply with calls for new legislation that would expand death penalty eligible drug-related crimes on the federal level. Further, President Trump called on Congress to pass laws lowering the drug-possession threshold to trigger mandatory minimum sentences.

Turning his aim toward drug companies, Trump said big pharma is as equally responsible for the drug epidemic as the dealers who illegally sell their product.

“Our Department of Justice is looking very seriously into bringing major litigation against some of these drug companies. We’ll bring it at a federal level,” he said.

Trump, who campaigned heavily on addressing the drug crisis as part of his efforts to “make America great again” last year declared the opioid crisis a national health emergency.

“I don’t want to leave at the end of seven years and have this problem,” Trump told the crowd.

The president also said he would support alloting federal dollards toward research into developing a vaccine for opioid addiction.

“It’s central,” Dr. David Rosenbloom, a professor of public health at Boston University, told CNBC. “You need research dollars for the basic research, and you need significant research for clinical trials.”

But experts in the addiction field warn that, even if developed, addiction preventing vaccines are no magical cure.

“This is not any kind of magic bullet,” Dr. John Franklin, the chief of addictions in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern, told CNBC. “This is another tool to give opioid users a chance.”





‘AMNESTY DON’: Trump immigration deal draws harsh criticism from voters, the right

WASHINGTON, D.C.– A proposed immigration deal by the Trump administration is leading to staunch criticism from both Republican leaders and the president’s voter base.

The deal, which would provide legal status and a path for citizenship for approximately 1.8 million illegal immigrants brought to the country as children, would be granted by Trump in exchange for $25 billion in funding to build a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, an agreement to end chain migration across the board, and an end to the visa lottery program.

Offered up by the White House in the hopes that appeasing so-called “Dreamers” would prove a strong enticement for Democrats, Republicans were quick to condemn the effort.

“Amnesty comes in many forms, but it seems they all eventually grow in size and scope. Any proposal that expands the amnesty-eligible population risks opening Pandora’s box,” Michael Needham, who heads Heritage Action for America, an influential conservative group, said of the plan. “That should be a nonstarter.”

Indeed, Breitbart News, long considered one of President Trump’s most supportive news outlets, also slammed the proposed deal. “Immigration Shock: Amnesty Don Suggests Citizenship for Illegal Aliens,” Thursday’s headline screamed.

Conservative talk show host Mark Levin, during an interview Thursday with Conservative Review Senior Editor Daniel Horowitz, urged against the proposed deal, warning that Democrats, even if appeased, are not to be trusted.

Democrats “do not operate in good faith,” Levin said, questioning why Trump would even entertain the offer. “It’s a huge error. Huge.”

A vast majority of callers to Levin’s show, many of whom had voted for Trump in 2016, agreed and vowed not to vote for his reelection in 2020 should the DACA deal go through (

“We expect conservatives in Congress to hold the line,” Levin said.

Despite the backlash, Trump said he thinks his plan can be accomplished.

“I think Cotton, and Perdue, and Goodlatte, and the people that I’ve been dealing with — Cornyn, so many of the people — these are great people,” he told CNBC. “These are people that really have shifted a lot. They’ve really shifted a lot, and I think they’re willing to shift more, and so am I.”