Representatives Mo Brooks, Matt Gaetz, Andy Biggs, Louie Gohmert and Scott Perry were among the Republican members of Congress who asked then-president Donald Trump to insulate them from future prosecutions by granting them presidential pardons in the days immediately following the attack on the US Capitol on January 6 last year.
Their names were revealed by the House January 6 select committee hearing on Thursday that focused on Mr Trump’s efforts to pressure the Department of Justice to assist in his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden.
Illinois Representative Adam Kinzinger, the Republican select committee member who led the hearing, suggested that seeking pardons implied that his colleagues may have at least suspected they may later face prosecution.
“All I know is if you’re innocent, you’re probably not gonna go out and seek a pardon,” he said.
The select committee played videotaped excerpts from depositions of former Trump White House staffers, who described the Republican members’ efforts to obtain clemency after Mr Trump’s scheme led to an attack on the US Capitol by his supporters.
Cassidy Hutchinson, a former special assistant to the president, said Mr Gaetz and Mr Brooks had both advocated for a “blanket pardon” for members involved in a December meeting to plan for events on January 6.
“Mr Gaetz was personally pushing for a pardon and was doing so since early December,” she said in pre-recorded testimony played by the committee.
Ms Hutchinson also said that congressman Jim Jordan talked about congressional pardons but didn’t specifically ask for one. She said of Marjorie Taylor Greene: “I heard she had asked White House Counsel Office for a pardon.”
Former deputy White House counsel Eric Herschmann, who confirmed to the panel that Mr Gaetz asked for a pardon, added: “The general tone was, ‘we may get prosecuted because we were defensive of … the president’s positions on these things.’”
Mr Brooks, an Alabama Republican, requested the pardon in an 11 January 2021 email to Mr Trump’s assistant, Molly Michael, which he wrote was being sent on behalf of himself and Mr Gaetz, a Florida Republican who is reportedly under investigation for sex trafficking. Mr Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any criminal offences.
“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, and speeches related thereto,” Mr Brooks wrote.
Mr Brooks added that he was recommending Mr Trump issue “general (all purpose) pardons” to all of the GOP members of the House and Senate who’d voted against certifying the 2020 election, as well as those who’d signed onto a legal brief urging the Supreme Court to throw out electoral votes from swing states won by Mr Biden.