Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz had “personally urged a broad presidential pardon for Donald Trump” before and after the Jan. 6 attack, the House Inquiry Committee revealed.
One of the biggest revelations from Thursday’s hearing was testimony from White House officials who sent six GOP members – Gaetz, Andy Biggs (Arizona), Louie Gohmert (Texas) and Scott Perry (Pennsylvania) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (Georgia) — named those who asked for clemency from Trump before he left office.
Additionally, Alabama Assemblyman Mo Brooks reportedly sent an email on Jan. 11, 2021, asking for “all purpose” pardons for any lawmaker who objected to Arizona and Pennsylvania electoral votes.
In a statement to AL.com, Brooks quoted the email as saying there are “concerns that Democrats may abuse the justice system by prosecuting and imprisoning Republicans who are acting in accordance with their constitutional or statutory duties under[Federal Elections Act].”
Former Trump White House adviser Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan has asked for updates on whether the White House is willing to pardon members of the House, but has not sought any for himself .
Gaetz was contacted for comment.
Perry’s office has strenuously denied the allegation, according to US media sources, while Gohmert said he asked for pardons for US soldiers and military contractors, not himself. Biggs has also declined to seek an apology. Greene accused the committee of relying on hearsay and spreading “gossip and lies.”
In her taped testimony played Thursday, Hutchinson also described how Gaetz asked for a presidential pardon before the other GOP lawmakers were accused of involvement in attempts to overturn the 2020 election.
“Gaetz has personally pushed for a pardon and has been since early December,” said Hutchinson, who worked as an adviser to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
“I’m not sure why. He reached out to me to ask if he could meet with Mr. Meadows for a presidential pardon.”
Eric Herschmann, a Trump White House attorney, testified Thursday that Gaetz asked the president for a sweeping pardon.
“The general tone was, ‘We could be prosecuted for defending the President’s positions on these things,'” Herschmann said.
“The forgiveness he discussed and asked for was as wide-ranging as could be described, from the beginning of time to the present day, for all sorts of things.
“He mentioned Nixon and I said Nixon’s pardon was never nearly as comprehensive.”
Former President Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 in disgrace over the Watergate scandal, but was later pardoned by his successor, Gerald Ford.
John McEntee, another former White House aide, said in his recorded testimony that he knew Gaetz asked for a pardon because “he told me he asked Meadows to.”
McEntee said he was also aware of talks about offering blanket pardons to those involved on Jan. 6.
Gaetz was previously reported to have asked for a pardon from Trump in the final weeks of his tenure.
in April 2021, Die New York Times said Gaetz has sought blanket preemptive pardons for him and a number of his congressional allies for any unidentified crimes they may have committed.
The report came a month after the Justice Department confirmed they were investigating Gaetz over allegations of child trafficking.
Gaetz is said to have been in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel to state lines with him. The congressman denies the allegations, saying they are part of a broader conspiracy to distort him and his family.
Trump issued a statement denying that Gaetz had asked him for a pardon.
“Congressman Matt Gaetz never apologized to me. It must also be remembered that he has completely denied the allegations against him,” Trump said.