Representatives Mo Brooks, Matt Gaetz, Andy Biggs, Louie Gommert, and Scott Perry were among the Republican congressmen who asked the president Donald Trump to isolate them from future prosecutions by granting them a presidential pardon in the days immediately following the attack on US Capitol Building On January 6 last year.
Their names were revealed at a House Select Committee hearing on January 6 Thursday that focused on Trump’s efforts to pressure the Department of Justice to assist in his efforts to reverse his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden.
Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, the Republican Select Committee member who led the hearing, noted that the pardon request implied that his colleagues might have at least suspected they might face prosecution later.
“All I know,” he said, “is that if you were innocent, you probably wouldn’t go out and ask for pardon.”
The select committee played videotaped excerpts from former Trump’s statements White House The staff, who described Republican members’ efforts to obtain amnesty after Trump’s plan led to an attack on the Capitol by his supporters.
Cassidy Hutchinson, a former special assistant to the president, said Mr. Gates and Mr. Brooks had advocated a “comprehensive amnesty” for members participating in the December meeting to plan for the January 6 events.
“Mr. Gates has been personally pushing for the pardon and has been doing so since early December,” she said in pre-recorded testimony performed by the commission.
Ms. Hutchinson also said that Congressman Jim Jordan had talked about the pardon in Congress but had not specifically requested it. “I heard she asked for a pardon from the White House Counsel’s office,” she said of Marjorie Taylor Green.
Former White House Deputy Counsel Eric Hirschman, who confirmed to the committee that Mr. Gates had requested pardon, added: “The general tone was, ‘We may be prosecuted because we have been defensive about the … positions of the president on these matters.’”
Mr. Brooks, a Republican from Alabama, asked for pardon in a January 11, 2021 email to Molly Michael, Trump’s help, which he wrote was sent on behalf of himself and Mr. Gaetz, a Florida Republican who is said to be under investigation for sex trafficking Gates has denied any wrongdoing and no criminal charges have been brought against him.
“It is clear that wealthy and stingy Democratic Socialists (with some help from liberal Republicans) may be abusing the American judicial system by targeting many Republicans with spurious charges drawn from our recent struggle for fair and accurate elections, and the sermons relating thereto,” Mr. Brooks wrote.
Mr. Brooks added that he was recommending Mr. Trump to issue a “general amnesty (for all purposes)” to all members of the House and Senate Republicans who voted against ratification of the 2020 election, as well as those who signed a statutory act. Brief urges Supreme Court to exclude electoral votes from swing states won by Biden.
The commission’s deputy chairwoman, representing Wyoming, Liz Cheney, had previously alleged that others in Trump’s orbit had requested pardon in the wake of the January 6 attack, including “several” members of Congress, during the commission’s first public hearing earlier this month. .
While the identities of most GOP members remain unknown, Ms. Cheney previously revealed that Representative Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and John Eastman, a former law professor at Chapman University, lobbied Vice President Mike Pence to get rid of the election. Swinging states votes won by Biden in the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021 in which Biden was to be certified as the winner.
In an email Mr Eastman sent to Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani a few days after the attack, the conservative legal scholar wrote: “I have decided to be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works.”
Nick Ackerman, a veteran defense attorney who served as the Assistant US Attorney in New York and Deputy Special Counsel during Watergate, said, independent That a request for pardon is a strong indication that the person requesting it knows that they have broken the law.
“This is clear evidence of someone who thinks they have committed a crime and is afraid of being pursued – an innocent person does not ask for pardon,” he said. “A request for pardon, when there is not even an investigation underway, is irrefutable evidence of an awareness of guilt.”
Mr. Perry, who has denied the pardon request, featured prominently in the panel’s presentation Thursday, in which former Trump-era Justice Department officials provided evidence about the Pennsylvania Republic’s role in a proposal to Trump by Jeffrey Clark, an environmental attorney. At the time, he was the head of the civil department in the department.
The Pennsylvania Republican had already introduced Trump to Mr. Clark, who encouraged the president to fire the then acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen, and put him at the head of the Justice Department so that he could pressure state legislatures to overturn the election results in their states based on allegations. Of the fraud already exposed by the department.
After Mr. Clark told Mr. Rosen that he would be promoted to Mr. Rosen’s current position, Rosen and other senior Justice Department leaders confronted him with Mr. Trump in a controversial meeting in the Oval Office.
One of the former officials who took part in the meeting, former acting deputy attorney general Richard Donoghue, described to the hearing how he and other Justice Department leaders told Mr Trump they would resign if he made Mr. Clark — an environmental law specialist with no experience with it. Trial attorney or prosecutor – their chief.
I said: Mr. President, I will resign immediately. I don’t work a minute for this guy [Mr Clark] Which you just stated is completely incompetent.”
Trump then turned to Stephen Engel, then the head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, and asked if he would resign, he said. In response, he said, Mr. Engel told the president, “Of course I will, Mr. President, you leave me no choice.”
Mr. Donoghue said he then told the president that he “would lose. [his] Command the entire department’ if he had carried out Mr. Clark’s plan.
“Every agent will withdraw on you, and the entire Department of Justice leadership will withdraw in a matter of hours,” he recalls.
The select committee also provided evidence that Trump’s White House advisers have found that Clarke’s proposed actions, including launching investigations into baseless conspiracy theories pushed by Trump and his allies, and sending the letter to state legislatures urging them to cancel the election. , it would be illegal.
Hirschman, the former deputy White House counsel, told the committee’s select investigators that Clarke’s plan was “acinic” and said his reaction was to tell the acting attorney general that he could subject him to criminal charges.
“You said…f***ing a hole…Congratulations: You just admitted your first step is going to be taking because the attorney general will commit a felony and violate Rule 6-c. You obviously remember saying ‘right candidate for this job’.”
Clark, a veteran environmental attorney who now works at a pro-Trump think tank called the Center for American Renewal, was one of several former Trump administration officials called to testify before the select committee. He had initially resisted appearing, but when he appeared under threat of criminal referral for contempt of Congress, he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination more than 100 times.
The hearing focused on his behavior in the days before the Capitol attack comes as the department where he once served as a senior official is investigating him about his role in Mr. Trump’s plot to stay in power against the wishes of voters.
According to multiple reports, FBI agents raided Mr. Clark’s home on Wednesday under a search warrant.