Brett Wilkins, Common Dreams
The House Select committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol revealed Thursday that half a dozen Republican lawmakers sought preemptive pardons from then-President Donald Trump after they tried to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
According to the committee, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) emailed the White House five days after the deadly insurrection requesting preemptive pardons for Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), himself and “every congressman or senator who voted to reject the electoral college vote submissions of Arizona and Pennsylvania.”
Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, said in a video deposition that Gaetz asked for blanket pardons starting in early December 2020. Hutchinson said that GOP Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Louie Gohmert (Texas), and Scott Perry (Pa.) also requested pardons. She also testified that she heard Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) asked the White House counsel’s office for a pardon.
Responding to Thursday’s revelations, committee member Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) opined that “the only reason you ask for a pardon is if you think you’ve committed a crime.”
Last week, Rep. Pete Aguilar testified before the panel that right-wing attorney John Eastman, who espoused the baseless belief that then-Vice President Mike Pence had the authority to single-handedly reject President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, also sought a preemptive pardon for his actions.
“‘I’ve decided I should be on the pardon list’ is one of the most incriminating, damning, guilty, and also dumb things a lawyer could ever put in writing. Literally,” quipped MSNBC‘s Ari Melber in response to Eastman’s request.
Several of the implicated Republicans denied asking for pardons.
“It is clear that deep-pocketed and vitriolic Socialist Democrats (with perhaps some liberal Republican help) are going to abuse America’s judicial system by targeting numerous Republicans with sham charges deriving from our recent fight for honest and accurate elections,” said Brooks.
The January 6 hearings are now on hold until after House lawmakers return from recess on July 11. Committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) explained Wednesday that the delay is due to a “deluge of new evidence.”