The congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol revealed during testimony Thursday that GOP representatives, including Florida’s Matt Gaetz, asked for presidential pardons.
It’s unclear specifically why Gaetz and fellow Congressmen Mo Brooks, Andy Biggs, Louie Gohmert and Scott Perry allegedly felt they needed to be pardoned.
“The only reason I know to ask for a pardon is because you think you committed a crime,” Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who sits on the committee, said Thursday.
Cassidy Hutchinson, who served in former President Donald Trump’s White House, testified that GOP lawmakers personally asked her for pardons. She said she had heard Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia had asked the White House Counsel’s Office for one.
Dictionary.com defines “pardon” as “forgiveness of a serious offense or offender.”
The plot particularly thickens in the case of Congressman Gaetz, who denies wrongdoing in a separate investigation involving alleged sex trafficking of women and underaged girls. The committee heard testimony he’d been asking for amnesty from federal prosecution as early as December.
Former Trump senior adviser Eric Herschmann told investigators that Gaetz — a Trump sycophant — was looking for blanket protection.
“The pardon he was requesting was as broad as you could describe, from the beginning of time, up until today, for any and all things” Herschmann said in video testimony given under oath.
As it happens
Get updates on the coronavirus pandemic and other news as it happens with our free breaking news email alerts.
Brooks famously wore a bulletproof vest to the Jan. 6, 2021, rally that preceded the siege on the Capitol while Congress was in session. Perry, Gohmert and Biggs have all promoted election lies as well.
During his Tuesday testimony to the Jan. 6 committee on Tuesday, Republican Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers testified Biggs tried to persuade him to decertify their state’s Electoral College slate.
Biggs has contended that the bipartisan committee, which wrapped up its fifth day of hearings Thursday after a steady stream of testimonials from Republicans, is politically motivated by Democrats.
On June 11, after news broke that the Jan. 6 committee had the names of GOP operatives who’d asked for presidential pardons, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggested that list would include some of the usual suspects in terms of politically sensational rabble-rousing. She wasn’t wrong.
“Did you ever ask Trump for a pardon?” she tweeted at Gaetz.
Ocasio-Cortez also asked Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert if she’d begged Trump’s pardon. While that conspiracy-pushing congresswoman was not on the list, Ocasio-Cortez assumed Greene might be.
“Maybe your friend @RepMTG can answer! Did either of you seek a pardon?” she asked. “Just trying to clear some things up.”