The Jan. 6 committee displayed a bombshell email on Thursday revealing that Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) emailed the White House five days after the attack on the Capitol asking for a pardon for himself and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), as well as “every Congressman and Senator who voted to reject the electoral college vote submissions of Arizona and Pennsylvania.”
The blanket pardon would have preemptively exonerated the 147 Republicans who voted against the certification of President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory in the event that wrongdoing was discovered in subsequent investigations.
January 6th committee details a request from Mo Brooks on behalf of Matt Gaetz for a pardon, and discussions of a blanket pardon for all those involved. pic.twitter.com/UKR5GHEUan
— nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) June 23, 2022
Rep. Brooks defended the request in a statement provided to Rolling Stone, citing a “concern Democrats would abuse the judicial system by prosecuting and jailing Republicans who acted pursuant to their Constitutional or statutory duties.” He added that pardon wasn’t necessary because “rational forces took over and no one was persecuted for performing their lawful duties.” Brooks included a picture of a printout of the email referenced by the Jan. 6 committee.
Testimony provided to the committee detailed discussions between Republican officials and the Trump administration in the final days of the presidency over the possibility of Trump issuing a blanket pardon to all those potentially involved in the Jan. 6 attack. In testimony to the committee, former Trump adviser Eric Herschmann described the scope of the pardon requested by Gaetz. “He mentioned Nixon, and I said ‘Nixon’s pardon was never nearly that broad,” Herschmann said.
Gaetz was “personally pushing [for a pardon] since early December,” according to testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
Gaetz responded after the hearing concluded. “The January 6 Committee is an unconstitutional political sideshow,” he tweeted. “It is rapidly losing the interest of the American people and now resorts to siccing federal law enforcement on political opponents.”
Hutchinson also said Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), and Scott Perry (R-Pa.) contacted the White House in regards to securing a pardon.
Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in her opening statements that the names of the representatives who requested pardons would be revealed at the end of Thursday’s hearing. The subject of pardons has loomed large over the Jan. 6 investigation. Weeks ago, Cheney revealed that Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) had contacted the White House weeks after January 6 in the hopes of attaining a presidential pardon.
Rep. Perry and multiple Republicans sought presidential pardons for the roles in trying to overturn the election according to Cheney pic.twitter.com/VDPUnkajfd
— Acyn (@Acyn) June 10, 2022
There has long been speculation of plans to pardon individuals who aided Trump and his campaign in their efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. It is becoming increasingly clear that those close to the Trump administration believed this option was on the table. On June 17 the committee revealed an email from Trump lawyer John Eastman to Rudy Giuliani. “I’ve decided that I should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works,” Eastman wrote.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) stated the obvious in detailing the push for pardons during the hearing on Thursday. “The only reason I know to ask for a pardon is because you think you’ve committed a crime,” he said.