January 6 hearing: Matt Gaetz, Mo Brooks and Louie Gohmert among lawmakers who asked Trump to pardon

Representatives Mo Brooks, Matt Gaetz, Andy Biggs, Louie Gohmert and Scott Perry were among Republican members of Congress who urged President Donald Trump to insulate them from future prosecutions, granting them presidential pardons in the days immediately following the Capitol Building attack. USA on January 6 of last year.

Their names were revealed by the House committee hearing on Jan. 6 on Thursday, which focused on Trump’s efforts to pressure the Justice Department to help in his efforts to reverse his 2020 election defeat to Joe Biden.

Illinois Representative Adam Kinzinger, the Republican select committee member who led the hearing, suggested that the search for pardons implied that his colleagues may have at least suspected they might face prosecution later.

“All I know is, if you’re innocent, you’re probably not going to come out and ask for forgiveness,” he said.

The select committee played video excerpts of testimony from former Trump White House officials, who described efforts by Republican members to obtain clemency after Trump’s scheme led to an attack on the US Capitol by his supporters.

Cassidy Hutchinson, a former special assistant to the president, said Gaetz and Brooks advocated a “general pardon” for members involved in a December meeting to plan events on Jan. 6.

“Mr Gaetz was personally pushing for a pardon and had been doing so since early December,” she said in pre-recorded testimony by the committee.

Hutchinson also said that Congressman Jim Jordan spoke about congressional pardons but did not specifically ask for one. She said of Marjorie Taylor Greene: “I heard she asked the White House Council Office for forgiveness.”

Former White House Deputy Counsel Eric Herschmann, who confirmed to the panel that Gaetz asked for a pardon, added: “The general tone was, ‘We can be prosecuted because we defend … the president’s positions on these things. ”

Brooks, an Alabama Republican, asked for the pardon in a January 11, 2021, email to Trump’s assistant Molly Michael, which he wrote was being sent on behalf of him and Gaetz, a Florida Republican who is under investigation of sex trafficking. Gaetz denied any wrongdoing and was not charged with any crime.

“It is clear that wealthy and caustic Democratic Socialists (with perhaps some liberal Republican help) will abuse the US judicial system by attacking a number of Republicans with false accusations stemming from our recent fight for honest and accurate elections, and related speeches, ,” wrote Brooks.

Brooks added that he was recommending that Trump issue “general pardons (for all purposes)” to all members of the House and Senate Republicans who voted against certifying the 2020 election, as well as those who signed a legal agreement. a petition urging the Supreme Court to reject electoral votes from undecided states won by Biden.

Letter from Mo Brooks asking for forgiveness

(government document)

The committee’s vice chair, Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney, had previously claimed that others in Trump’s orbit asked for forgiveness after the Jan. beginning of this month.

While the identities of most GOP members have so far remained unknown, Cheney had previously revealed that the pardons were requested by Representative Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and John Eastman, the former Chapman University law professor who pressured the vice president. Mike Pence rejecting the election swing state votes won by Biden at the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021, in which Biden’s victory would be certified.

In an email from Eastman to Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, sent just days after the attack, the conservative jurist wrote: “I have decided that I should be on the pardon list if this is still ongoing.”

Nick Akerman, a veteran defense attorney who served as assistant US attorney in New York and as assistant special attorney during Watergate, said The Independent that a request for pardon is a strong indicator that the person requesting it knows that he has broken the law.

“This is obvious evidence of someone who believes he has committed a crime and is worried about being prosecuted – an innocent person does not ask for forgiveness,” he said. “An apology, when there is not even an investigation going on, is overwhelming evidence of a guilty conscience.”

Perry, who has denied apologizing, featured prominently in the panel’s presentation on Thursday, during which former Trump-era Justice Department officials gave evidence on the Pennsylvania Republican’s role in a proposal presented to Trump by Jeffrey. Clark, an environmental lawyer who was then the head of the department’s civil division.

The Pennsylvania Republican introduced Trump to Clark, who encouraged the president to fire then-acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen and install him at the top of the DOJ so he could pressure state legislatures to overturn the election results in their states based on claims. of fraud that the department had already exposed.

After Clark told Rosen that he was being elevated to Rosen’s current position, Rosen and other Justice Department leaders confronted him and Trump in a controversial meeting in the Oval Office.

One of the former officials who attended the meeting, former acting deputy attorney general Richard Donoghue, described at the hearing how he and the other DOJ leaders told Trump they would resign if he appointed Clark — an inexperienced environmental law expert. like a lawyer or prosecutor–your boss.

“I said: Mr President, I would resign immediately. I’m not working a minute for this guy [Mr Clark] which I just declared was completely incompetent.”

He said Trump then turned to Steven Engel, then head of the DOJ’s legal counsel office, and asked if he, too, would resign. In response, he said that Engel told the president, “Surely, sir, you would leave me no choice.”

Donoghue said he told the president he would “lose [his] the entire department leadership” if he followed Mr. Clark.

“Every agent will be out of you, the entire leadership of your justice department will be out in a few hours,” he remembers saying.

The select committee also presented evidence that Trump’s own advisers in the White House found that Clark’s proposed actions, including launching investigations into the baseless conspiracy theories being pushed by Trump and his allies and sending the letter to state legislatures asking them to annul the election. , it would be illegal.

Herschmann, the former White House deputy attorney, told select committee investigators that Clark’s plan was “asinine” and said his reaction was to tell the would-be interim attorney general that he could expose him to criminal charges.

“I said… idiot… congratulations: you just admitted that your first step as attorney general would be to commit a felony and violate Rule 6-c. You are clearly the right candidate for this job,” he recalls. to have said.

Clark, a veteran environmental lawyer who now works for a pro-Trump think tank called the Center for Renewing America, was one of several former Trump administration officials who were subpoenaed to testify before the select committee. He initially resisted appearing, but when he appeared under threat of a criminal complaint for contempt of Congress, he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination more than 100 times.

The hearing focusing on his conduct in the days leading up to the Capitol Hill attack comes as the department where he served as a senior official is now investigating him for his role in Trump’s plot to remain in power against the wishes of voters.

According to multiple reports, FBI agents raided Clark’s home on Wednesday, pursuant to a search warrant.

Leave a Comment