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Rep. Matt Gaetz. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

A former aide to Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said Monday that two FBI agents questioned him after people in the media told the FBI that he knew of Gaetz's alleged involvement in illegal sex-trafficking activities.

Driving the news: Nathan Nelson, Gaetz's former director of military affairs, denied at a press conference Monday that he had any knowledge of the matter, and he said that his resignation last fall was not related to the Department of Justice probe into the Florida congressman.

What he's saying: "Neither I nor any other member of Congressman Gaetz’s staff had any knowledge of illegal activities," Nelson said.

  • Nelson said federal agents approached him the day after the New York Times first reported the sex-trafficking investigation.
  • The "baseless claim" that led to his questioning left him "further convinced" that the allegations against Gaetz were fabricated to "discredit a vocal conservative," Nelson said.
  • Nelson worked for Gaetz for over four years before leaving last October, which he said was planned. He added he is still "loosely affiliated" with Gaetz's office as a military adviser but hasn't spoken to Gaetz in several months.

The big picture: Gaetz has denied the allegations and told Axios last week he believes the DOJ is "trying to criminalize my sexual conduct, you know when I was a single guy."

Go deeper

"SNL" cold open mocks Rep. Matt Gaetz on Britney Spears "talk show"

A screenshot of the latest "SNL" cold open. Photo: NBC

The latest "Saturday Night Live" cold open saw Pete Davidson as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) grilled by Chloe Fineman's Britney Spears on sexual misconduct allegations.

Of note: After Davidson's Gaetz emphasized to Fineman's Spears the word "allegedly" over the claims, she summed the matter up by telling the audience they should "judge him by his face."

By the numbers: Leaving House

Expand chart
Data: House Press Gallery; Table: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) is the latest House lawmaker to announce he won't seek re-election next year, bringing the total number of Democratic retirements to 13, compared to nine Republicans.

Why it matters: The increasing number of Democratic retirements — put against the backdrop of President Biden's sagging approval ratings and uncertainty about redistricting — is adding to concerns the party may not be able to keep its slim majority in the House.

Ohio sues Biden admin over reversal of Trump-era abortion referral ban

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. Photo: Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration Monday over a Trump-era ban on abortion referrals that President Biden overturned earlier this month.

The big picture: The lawsuit aims to reinstate two measures included in the 2019 legislation that required federally funded family planning clinics to be "financially independent of abortion clinics," and refrain from referring patients for abortions.

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