The New York Times on Wednesday reported that weeks before the end of Donald Trump's presidential term, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., privately requested a blanket preemptive pardon, exacerbating recent allegations against Gaetz for sexual misconduct with a 17-year-old girl.

The Times noted that it was unclear whether Gaetz or the White House had known about the Justice Department inquiry into Gaetz's conduct. Bill Barr, who resigned as attorney general on Dec. 23, 2020, had been briefed on the investigation into Gaetz and did not take issue with it, sources told Politico.

Sources also told the Times that Gaetz had asked for pardons for several unnamed congressional colleagues. Publicly, Gaetz was advocating for sweeping pardons for all Trump allies in order to protect them from Democrats’ “bloodlust.” 

Gaetz never received his pardon. Trump eventually decided against preemptive pardons reportedly because legal advisors told him they would require listing the specific crimes being pardoned.

"What Gaetz was asking for, was essentially the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card," Times reporter Michael Schmidt said Wednesday on MSNBC. "He wanted a blanket pardon for everything he may have done, essentially in his life up until that point. What was notable and different about his case, he had not been indicted yet ... so, in that case, the president truly would have been reaching his hand into an ongoing Justice Department investigation and essentially ending it."

Matt Gaetz, a US congressman from Florida, addressed the first night of the Republican National Convention which was largely being held virtually amid the coronavirus pandemic Matt Gaetz, a US congressman from Florida, addressed the first night of the Republican National Convention which was largely being held virtually amid the coronavirus pandemic Photo: Republican National Convention / -

Gaetz has vigorously denied any wrongdoing, saying he’s the victim of an extortion attempt and political attacks. A spokesperson for Gaetz addressed the pardon request, saying it was unrelated to the investigation.

"Entry-level political operatives have conflated a pardon call from Representative Gaetz -- where he called for President Trump to pardon 'everyone from himself, to his administration, to Joe Exotic' -- with these false and increasingly bizarre, partisan allegations against him," the spokesperson told the Times.

Meanwhile, Trump on Wednesday denied that he had ever been asked to pardon Gaetz.

“Congressman Matt Gaetz has never asked me for a pardon,” Trump said in a statement. “It must also be remembered that he has totally denied the accusations against him.”