Jun 23, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Ex-Trump aides say six House Republicans sought pardons after Jan. 6

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former Trump White House aides testified to the Jan. 6 select committee that six House Republicans sought presidential pardons in the aftermath of the Capitol riot.

Why it matters: The testimony was played at the end of a hearing that included new details about lawmakers' involvement in former President Trump's efforts to pressure the Justice Department to probe his voter fraud claims.

  • Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) in particular was a champion of installing DOJ official Jeffrey Clark, a vocal believer of Trump's claims, as acting attorney general.

Driving the news: According to the aides who testified, the following members sought pardons:

  • Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.)
  • Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.)
  • Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.)
  • Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)
  • Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.)
  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.)

Details: Brooks emailed the White House requesting "general (all purpose) pardons" for himself, Gaetz and the 147 Republican House members and senators who voted against certifying Arizona's and Pennsylvania's electors, according to Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.).

  • Cassidy Hutchinson, who served as an aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified to the panel that she personally heard from Biggs and Gohmert.
  • Hutchinson also said she had heard that Greene reached out to the White House counsel's office to ask for a pardon. She said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) "talked about ... pardons but he never asked me for one."
  • John McEntee, the former director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office, said Trump "hinted at blanket pardon" for "everyone involved."

What they're saying: "The general tone was, 'We may get prosecuted because we were defensive of the president's positions on these things,'" former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann said in closed-door testimony.

  • "The only reason I know to ask for a pardon is because you think you committed a crime," said Kinzinger who led the hearing.

The other side: “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 told Axios in a statement.

  • Axios has reached out to spokespeople for the other members for comment.

Gohmert said in a statement that he "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."

  • "These requests were all far prior to, and completely unrelated to January 6," he continued.
  • "I had and have nothing for which to seek a pardon and my requests were for others unassociated with government in Washington, DC. Any assertion to the contrary is unequivocally and maliciously false," Gohmert added. "Any Committee Members or witness involved should be ashamed for perpetuating such a falsehood, but that would require a conscience to feel such shame."

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to show Perry championed installing DOJ official Jeffrey Clark, not Jeffrey Rosen, as acting attorney general.

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