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House ethnics panel opens probe of Matt Gaetz amid federal sex trafficking investigation

The House Ethics Committee announced Friday it has launched an investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who is facing a federal probe into sex trafficking allegations.

Driving the news: The panel said it is aware of allegations that Gaetz "may have engaged in sexual misconduct and/or illicit drug use, shared inappropriate images or videos on the House floor, misused state identification records, converted campaign funds to personal use, and/or accepted a bribe, improper gratuity, or impermissible gift."


  • Gaetz has denied allegations of being sexually involved with a 17-year-old, telling Axios in an interview last month that the investigation is "rooted in an extortion effort against my family for $25 million."
  • Gaetz has also denied claims he shared naked images of women to other Congress members.

What they're saying: The panel said in a statement it has "begun an investigation and will gather additional information regarding" the allegations.

  • "The Committee notes that the mere fact that it is investigating these allegations, and publicly disclosing its review, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee."
  • Gaetz's office said in a statement to CNBC: "Once again, the office will reiterate, these allegations are blatantly false and have not been validated by a single human being willing to put their name behind them."

The big picture: The House panel also said it opened an investigation into Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), who was accused of sexual misconduct.

  • Nicolette Davis, a former lobbyist, told the Washington Post in March that Reed unhooked her bra without her consent at a Minneapolis bar in 2017.
  • Reed declined to comment to the Post at the time beyond issuing a statement that said, "This account of my actions is not accurate."
  • He later apologized to his family and announced he won't seek reelection in 2022.

Go deeper: GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger calls for Rep. Matt Gaetz to resign

Gas prices rise in several states as pipeline outage crimps supply

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Why it matters: In her address, Cheney promised that she "will be leading the fight to restore our party" and make it "worthy again of being the party of Lincoln," signaling that she doesn’t plan on going anywhere soon and will continue to be a voice of dissent in the party.

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Consumer prices jumped 4.2% in April compared to last year

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Why it matters: The gains were highest since September 2008. Prices jumped significantly compared to the start of the pandemic last year, when lockdowns drove down demand.

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What China's population woes mean for the rest of the world

China released its censusreport on Tuesday, showing that the number of births in the country last year dropped 18% from 2019. And China isn't alone — populations have been stagnating globally for decades, including in the U.S.

Why it matters: China has long relied on its large population — the biggest in the world — as a core engine for economic growth. The way that it, and officials across the globe, deal with changing demographics will lead to shifts in the economy and geopolitics.

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Inside Liz Cheney's plans to continue fighting for soul of GOP after leadership ouster

As she faces a voteto be thrown out of House Republican leadership, Rep. Liz Cheney has told associates she doesn’t plan on going anywhere — and plans to run for re-election.

What to watch: In the meantime,as she sees it, she will aggressively pursue a fight for the soul of the Republican Party, after an expected vote to strip her of her post as GOP conference chair, the party's No. 3 House post.

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Biden plans to send envoy as Israel and Hamas escalate toward war

Tel Aviv — With Israel and Hamas now engaged in their most destructive fight in seven years, the Biden administration is considering plans to dispatch a State Department official to join the de-escalation efforts, five Israeli officials and Western diplomats tell me.

Driving the news: The fighting intensified overnight, with Hamas and other militants firing a second barrage of over 100 rockets toward Tel Aviv and other nearby cities, and Israel continuing its air campaign in the Gaza Strip by destroying high-rise buildings, Hamas facilities and rocket units.

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