Multiple Republican members of Congress were put on the defensive on Thursday after explosive testimony that they sought pardons from Donald Trump for their roles in his attempted coup.
"Several top Trump aides during the post-Jan. 6 period, including special assistant Cassidy Hutchinson and aide Johnny McEntee, described outreach to White House officials from multiple members of Congress seeking clemency: Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AR), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Scott Perry (R-PA), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL)," Politico reported. "Additionally, according to the former Trump aides’ testimony, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) sent an email on Jan. 11, 2021, asking for 'all purpose' pardons for every lawmaker who objected to electoral votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania."
All of the lawmakers involved were prominent supporters of Trump's "big lie" of election fraud.
"Later Thursday, several of the House Republicans vigorously denied asking for pardons for themselves," Politico reported. "Gaetz, in a tweet, simply criticized the select panel; he ignored questions late Thursday about the evidence he asked for a pardon."
Daily Beast reporter Roger Sollenberger noted, "Gaetz allegedly asked for a pardon in early December 2020, way before anyone else. Meadows’ assistant didn’t know why. The feds seized his ex-girlfriend’s phone in December. And his, too."
Elie Mystal, justice correspondent for The Nation magazine wrote, "I wonder if Gaetz tried to commit more crimes to cover up for previous crimes and get a pardon for all of it."
We still, however, may not know if members received secret pardons.
Former federal prosecutor Richard Signorelli noted Johnny "McEntee testifying that he wasn't sure Gaetz received the pardon he was begging for tells me that there is still a real question as to pocket pardons having been secretly issued but only to be used if actually charged. [The former guy] was facing impeachment so keeping it secret was important."
\u201cWitnesses told the Select Committee that Trump considered offering pardons to a wide range of individuals connected to the President.\u201d— January 6th Committee (@January 6th Committee) 1656019913
\u201cDays after the Capitol attack and the final attempt to overturn the election, Members of Congress requested pardons.\n\nFive days after the attack on the Capitol, Representative Mo Brooks requested pardons for himself, Representative Gaetz, and others.\u201d— January 6th Committee (@January 6th Committee) 1656019271