Florida congressman appears to threaten Michael Cohen on Twitter

Critics say Matt Gaetz was trying to intimidate witness

WASHINGTON – Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz appeared to threaten President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen on Monday ahead of Cohen's public testimony before Congress.

"Hey @MichaelCohen212 - Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison.  She’s about to learn a lot," Gaetz wrote on Twitter.

Gaetz, who represents the Florida Panhandle, has been one of Trump's staunchest defenders on Capitol Hill. He is also a close ally of Gov. Rick DeSantis.

Cohen spent Tuesday testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors. On Wednesday, Cohen will testify before the House Oversight Committee in public. On Thursday, Cohen will testify privately before the House Intelligence Committee.

In November, Cohen pleaded guilty to facilitating secret payments to women who claimed they had affairs with Trump, lying to Congress about the president's business dealings with Russia and failing to report millions of dollars in income. He will begin a three-year prison term in May.

Lanny Davis, a legal adviser for Cohen, called Gaetz' comments lies and personal smears.

"We trust that his colleagues in the House, both Republicans and Democrats, will repudiate his words and his conduct," Davis said.  "I also trust that his constituents will not appreciate that their congressman has set a new low -- which in today’s political culture is hard to imagine as possible.”

Former Republican Rep.David Jolly, of Florida, questioned whether Gaetz was trying to intimidate a witness.

"A new low in an age of low, and possibly a crime by a sitting congressman," Jolly said.