Jan. 6 panel names six House GOP lawmakers who asked for pardons

·5 min read

The Jan. 6 committee investigating the attack on the Capitol revealed Thursday that at least a half-dozen Republican lawmakers asked for presidential pardons for their role in voting to overturn election results in certain states on Jan. 6, 2021, according to testimony from former Trump aides.

Testimony from Trump aides named Reps. Matt Gaetz (Fla.) Mo Brooks (Ala.) Louie Gohmert (Texas), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), and Scott Perry (PA.) as seeking pardons.

An aide also said that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) contacted the White House Counsel’s office seeking a pardon.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), a member of the panel who played an elevated role in Thursday’s proceedings, presented an email from Brooks, dated Jan. 11, 2021, in which the congressman asked for presidential pardons for himself, Gaetz, and lawmakers who objected to the Electoral College vote for Arizona and Pennsylvania.

“President Trump asked me to send you this letter. This letter is also pursuant to a request from Matt Gaetz,” the email reads.

“As such, I recommend that President give general (all purpose) pardons to the following groups of people:,” the email adds. “Every Congressman and Senator who voted to reject the electoral vote submission of Arizona and Pennsylvania.”

A spokesman for Brooks forwarded a full copy of the email, which included a concern that Democrats would “abuse America’s judicial system by targeting numerous Republicans with sham charges.”

“The email request says it all. There was a concern Democrats would abuse the judicial system by prosecuting and jailing Republicans who acted pursuant to their Constitutional or statutory duties under 3 USC 15,” Brooks said in a statement. “Fortunately, with time passage, more rational forces took over and no one was persecuted for performing their lawful duties, which means a pardon was unnecessary after all.”

The panel also showed a video of former special assistant to the president Cassidy Hutchinson, saying Gaetz and Brooks “both advocated for there to be a blanket pardon” for members of Congress involved with a meeting that took place on Dec, 21, 2020, presumably the huddle at the White House that focused on overturning the 2020 presidential election.

She also said Gaetz and Brooks advocated for a blanket pardon for “a handful of other members that weren’t at the Dec. 21 meeting.” Those were meant to be “preemptive pardons,” she noted.

Additionally, Hutchinson said “Gaetz was personally pushing for a pardon, and he was doing so since early December,” but said she did not know why.

Gaetz reached out to Hutchinson asking for a meeting with Meadows “about receiving a presidential pardon,” according to her closed-door testimony presented at Thursday’s hearing.

Hutchinson said Biggs, Gohmert and Perry also asked for pardons, but did not reveal more details.

And she said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a fierce defender of Trump, “talked about congressional pardons, but he never asked me for one,” noting that he was largely inquiring about whether or not the White House was going to grant the lawmaker pardons.

Brooks, Biggs, Perry and Jordan were all issued subpoenas by the select committee in May.

Perry previously denied that he asked for a pardon, and stood by that in light of new testimony.

“I stand by my statement that I never sought a Presidential pardon for myself or other Members of Congress.  At no time did I speak with Miss Hutchinson, a White House scheduler, nor any White House staff about a pardon for myself or any other Member of Congress — this never happened,” Perry said in a statement.

A spokesman for Perry previously denied that he asked for a pardon, calling it “laughable, ludicrous, and a thoroughly soulless lie.”

In a statement Thursday night, Gohmert said he requested pardons for U.S. service members and military contractors — not himself.

He called the claim that he requested a pardon for himself “malicious, despicable and unfit for a U.S. Congressional hearing.”

“I requested pardons for brave U.S. service members and military contractors who were railroaded by the justice system due to superiors playing politics, as well as a civilian leader who was also wronged by a despicable injustice,” Gohmert said. “These requests were all far prior to, and completely unrelated to January 6.”

Biggs also objected to the committee’s assertion that he sought a parton, writing in a statement Thursday night that Hutchinson “is mistaken.”

He said the testimony of Hutchinson discussing the pardons was “deceptively edited to make it appear as if I personally asked for her a presidential pardon.”

Greene, Hutchinson said, did not contact her directly, but she said she had heard that Greene contacted the White House Counsel’s office for a pardon.

Greene pushed back on the testimony in a tweet, but did not directly deny asking for a pardon.

“Saying ‘I heard’ means you don’t know,” Greene said. “Spreading gossip and lies is exactly what the January 6th Witch Hunt Committee is all about.”

Eric Herschmann, a former Trump White House attorney, was also asked by the Jan. 6 committee in a deposition if Gaetz was seeking a pardon.

“Believe so,” Herschmann said in a video presented at the hearing. “The general tone was, ‘we may get prosecuted because we were defensive of, you know, the President’s positions on these things.”

Herschmann said that Gaetz’s pardon request was “for any and all things,” and that Gaetz had mentioned former President Richard Nixon’s pardon. Herschmann said that Nixon’s pardon was not that broad.

Trump adviser John McEntee also testified that Gaetz told him he asked Meadows for a pardon.

A spokesman for Gaetz responded to testimony about the pardon request by pointing to a tweet from Gaetz calling the committee a “political sideshow.”

Updated at 10:35 p.m.

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