GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz tweets cryptic message to Cohen before public testimony

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By Dartunorro Clark  with NBC News Politics
Matt Gaetz
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill on Aug. 28, 2018.   -   Copyright  Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP file

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., tweeted an ominous warning to Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former attorney, a day before he is slated to testify publicly 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 said on Twitter Tuesday, without offering evidence.

A source close to Cohen swiftly responded, telling NBC News in a statement that "it is a shame Republicans have resorted to stooping this low and personally attacking Michael Cohen with lies about his personal life. These allegations are absolutely not true. The true story about President Trump's own lies and coverups will be told to the world tomorrow."

Gaetz's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gaetz's tweet was criticized on social media and cable news as potential witness intimidation. Gaetz defended it. telling The Daily Beast in an interview soon after that he was "challenging the veracity and character of a witness" and not trying to intimidate Cohen.

Cohen's testimony on Wednesday is highly-anticipated after weeks of delays.

Gaetz, a staunch ally of the president, is not a member of the House Oversight committee and will not be questioning Cohen.

A knowledgeable source about what to expect during Wednesday's hearing said Cohen will provide evidence of Trump's alleged criminal conduct since becoming president and detail his allegations of the president's lies, racism and cheating as a private businessman, NBC News previously reported.