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Report: Prosecutors investigating whether Gaetz obstructed justice

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) denies he's obstructed justice after Politico reported late Wednesday that federal prosecutors are looking into the allegation as part of a sex crimes investigation.

Driving the news: Per Politico, the obstruction of justice inquiry centers on a call Gaetz had with a witness in the Department of Justice case against Joel Greenberg, a former associate of the congressman, who's pleaded guilty to charges including sex trafficking a 17-year-old girl and wire fraud.


  • "At some point during the conversation, Gaetz's former girlfriend "patched" him into the call with the witness, Politico reports, citing sources familiar with the case.
  • "While it's unknown exactly what was said, the discussion on that call is central to whether prosecutors can charge Gaetz with obstructing justice, which makes it illegal to suggest that a witness in a criminal case lie or give misleading testimony," according to Politico.

For the record: Gaetz has not been charged with any crimes and has repeatedly denied allegations of being sexually involved with a 17-year-old and claims that he shared naked images of women with other Congress members.

  • He told Axios' Jonathan Swan in March that the investigation is "rooted in an extortion effort against my family for $25 million."

What they're saying: "Congressman Gaetz pursues justice, he doesn’t obstruct it," a spokesperson for Gaetz said in a statement in response to the latest report.

  • "The anonymous allegations have thus far amounted to lies, wrapped in leaks, rooted in an extortion plot by a former DOJ official. After two months, there is still not a single on-record accusation of misconduct, and now the 'story' is changing yet again."
  • Representatives for Gaetz and the DOJ did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Go deeper: Rep. Gaetz declares he's "not going anywhere" amid sex trafficking probe

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

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Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

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Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

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"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

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What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

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