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Congressional Republicans have asked for Trump’s pardon after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot


Excerpts from an email by US Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows asking for forgiveness for members of Congress are shown on a screen during the fifth public hearing of the US House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, United States, June 23, 2022.

Jim Bourg | Reuters

As many as half a dozen Republican lawmakers who have strongly supported President Donald Trump’s false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election have asked him for forgiveness following the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot, according to testimony. and evidence presented Thursday. to the House Select Committee investigating the attack.

Trump also discussed granting purported blanket pardons to his family members and White House staff before leaving office in January 2021, according to videotaped testimony from former White House aide John McEntee. .

“The only reason I know to ask for a pardon is because you think you’ve committed a crime,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, one of two Republicans on the panel investigating the riot. Capitol, said at the end of the hearing. .

Five members of the House GOP sought Trump’s pardon through the office of White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, according to videotaped testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Meadows.

She identified them as Mo Brooks from Alabama, Matt Gaetz from Florida, Louie Gohmert from Texas, Andy Biggs from Arizona and Scott Perry from Pennsylvania.

Hutchinson also testified that she heard Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia had asked the White House Counsel’s Office for a pardon.

In a Jan. 11, 2021, email to the White House that was displayed during Thursday’s hearing, Brooks not only asked for forgiveness for himself and Gaetz, but also for “all members of Congress and senators who voted to reject the Arizona and Pennsylvania Electoral College’s submission five days earlier, on January 6.

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It was on January 6 that a special joint session of Congress called to confirm President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory was adjourned for hours after a violent mob of Trump supporters forced their way into the Capitol. and invaded the halls of Congress.

Gaetz began asking for a pardon in December 2020, according to Hutchinson, who added, “I don’t know why.”

Video shows a discussion of presidential pardons during the House Select Committee’s fifth hearing to investigate the January 6 attack on the US Capitol at the Cannon House office building on June 23, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Alex Wang | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Former White House attorney Eric Herschmann, in his own videotaped testimony, said of Gaetz’s request: “The general tone was ‘we could be sued because we were defending the president’s position on these things “. “

“The forgiveness he asked for was as broad as you could describe, from the beginning of time until today, for anything and everything,” Herschmann said.

Gaetz, who remains under criminal investigation by the US Department of Justice in connection with an investigation into possible sex trafficking of a minor, lambasted the January 6 committee in a tweet after the hearing.

But his office did not respond to NBC News when asked if he had asked Trump for forgiveness.

“The January 6 Committee is an unconstitutional political sideshow,” Gaetz tweeted. “He is rapidly losing the interest of the American people and is now resorting to federal law enforcement on political opponents.

Greene’s office also didn’t explicitly deny whether she had asked for a pardon, but referred NBC to a tweet she posted in the wake of Hutchinson’s testimony airing.

“Saying ‘I heard’ means you don’t know,” Greene wrote. “Spreading gossip and lies is exactly the goal of the January 6 Witch Hunt Committee.”

Video of U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-AL) plays on a screen during the fifth hearing of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol at the Cannon Office Building House in Washington, DC on June 23. , 2022.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

McEntee was asked in his videotaped testimony whether Trump was considering granting blanket pardons to anyone involved on Jan. 6.

“I had heard that mentioned,” McEntee said.

He was asked if he was aware that Trump had had conversations about possibly pardoning family members. Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Jared Kushner, were senior White House advisers.

“I know he hinted at a blanket pardon for everyone on January 6, but I think he did for all staff and everyone involved,” McEntee replied. “Not with Jan. 6, but just before he left office, I know he had talked about it,” McEntee said.

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