Several House Republican representatives sought pardons from Donald Trump before he left office, former administration officials testified today during the hearings by House Select Committee investigating January 6th this afternoon. Among the legislators named were Representatives Scott Perry (R-PA), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). The list features the usual suspects, all of whom were vocal pushers of Trump’s big lie at the January 6th “Stop The Steal” rally and are now implicated as being allegedly complicit in the coup attempt on January 6th.
According to House Select Committee member Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), one of two Republicans on the panel and the lawmaker who led the hearing today, “The only reason I know to ask for a pardon is because you think you committed a crime.”
Cassidy Hutchison, a former aide to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Gaetz asked for a pardon in December 2021. According to former White House senior adviser Eric Herschmann, Gaetz was “asking for a pardon that essentially included anything he’s ever done in his whole life.” It should be noted that Gaetz has been under investigation for sex trafficking and paying an underage girl for sex.
Since the select committee’s televised hearings began, there have been questions as to who exactly was involved in the now obvious plot to overturn the 2020 presidential elections and how complicit they were. Each hearing has been an unpacking of the conspiracy — and Trump’s involvement in it. Rolling Stone reported in 2021 that Rep. Paul Gosar offered “blanket pardons” to rally organizers. A resurfaced tweet from January 6th is an admission of guilt, according to some observers.
— Paul Gosar (@DrPaulGosar) January 6, 2021
One of the rally organizers, speaking anonymously to Rolling Stone said:
“Our impression was that it was a done deal. That he’d spoken to the president about it in the Oval…in a meeting about pardons and that our names came up. They were working on submitting the paperwork and getting members of the House Freedom Caucus to sign on as a show of support.”
Some of the Republican representatives have already responded to being called out for seeking pardons.
Congressman Mo Brooks, fresh from a loss in the Alabama GOP Senatorial primary after Trump withdrew his endorsement from the right-wing lawmaker, suddenly announced that he would be willing to testify in front of the Jan 6th Committee, but only if a lengthy list of demands were met, including that his testimony is broadcast live. It’s uncertain whether the committee will be willing to meet his conditions.
The Committee presented an email from Brooks as part of the evidence in today’s hearing that demonstrated that the Alabama congressman had requested a pardon not only for himself but for Rep. Matt Gaetz and “every Congressman and Senator who voted to reject the electoral college vote submissions of Arizona and Pennsylvania,” all 147 of them.
Jan 6 Committee reveals Mo Brooks emailed the White House requesting a pardon for Rep Matt Gaetz and "every Congressman and Senator who voted to reject the electoral college vote submissions of Arizona and Pennsylvania" pic.twitter.com/try0PCsiIV
— nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) June 23, 2022
Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene — whom Cassidy Hutchison said she had heard had asked for a pardon through a third-party source — dismissed the accusation that she had requested one as hearsay in a defiant tweet.
Saying “I heard” means you don’t know.
Spreading gossip and lies is exactly what the January 6th Witch Hunt Committee is all about. pic.twitter.com/Z30AJd4tSX
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) June 23, 2022
With the House Select Committee’s investigation ongoing, the bipartisan members of the committee will have ample time to find a first-hand source for the accusations against Greene, as they have for the other five Republicans who were named. Given that the people testifying about the pardons being sought were all senior officials in the Trump administration and all Republicans to boot, Greene and her colleagues are going to have a lot of explaining to do in the weeks ahead.
If the Republican lawmakers can be proven to have participated in the planning of Trump’s attempted coup before requesting pardons, the penalties they face will be severe, as CNN legal analyst Norn Eisen pointed out in a tweet.
Wow. Congressmen helping Trump on & before 1/6 & then demanding pardons.
Makes me think of 18 USC 201:
A public official who corruptly seeks anything of value in return for an official act or colluding in fraud shall be imprisoned for up to 15 years & disqualified from office
— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) June 23, 2022
The big question now is what happens next for these pardon-seeking Republican congresspeople. Will the Justice Department open formal investigations into their activities? Will their fellow legislators expel or sanction them in any way?
Stay tuned. There are likely more blockbuster revelations coming when theHouse Select Committee investigating January 6th resumes its televised hearings in mid-July.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick