WASHINGTON. The House Select Committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 has named five more Republican members of Congress who have sought clemency from President Donald Trump.
The inquiries were related to their involvement in Trump’s plans to disrupt the 2020 presidential election, which Trump insisted on winning despite losing several million votes.
Committee previously disclosed that Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pennsylvania) sought a presidential pardon, which the congressman denied.
During Thursday’s public hearing on Capitol Hill, witnesses close to the Trump White House said in previously taped interviews that Republican Representatives Matt Goetz (Florida), Mo Brooks (Alabama), Andy Biggs (Arizona), and Louis Gomert (Texas) also asked for forgiveness.
“The pardon he asked for was as broad as you can describe … to anything and everything,” Trump’s former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann said of Gaetz in a video testimony the committee showed on Thursday.
Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, confirmed to the committee that Gatz and other Republican members of Congress were seeking clemency.
“Mr. Goetz and Mr. Brooks, I know, were both in favor of a full pardon,” Hutchinson said.
AT post-hearing statementA spokesman for Brooks said the congressman only wanted a pardon if Democrats abused the justice system and started “harassing and jailing” their political opponents.
Brooks also released image from an email he sent to the White House in December on behalf of himself and Gaetz, recommending that the president grant a “general (targeted) pardon” to every Republican who voted to cancel the election after the January 6 riots.
Speaking at a Trump rally ahead of the attack on the US Capitol, Brooks said, “Today is the day that American patriots are starting to destroy names and kick ass.”
Hutchinson said she heard Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) also plead for clemency, but she didn’t hear it directly. “I heard that she apologized to the White House lawyer,” she said.
“The only reason I know of asking for clemency is that you think you have committed a crime,” said Jan. 6 committee member Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois).
AT tweet after the hearing, Green didn’t exactly deny that she had asked for a pardon, but said, “To say ‘I heard’ means you don’t know. Spreading gossip and lies is exactly what the January 6th Witch Hunt Committee does.”
Thursday’s hearing included testimony from former Justice Department officials Jeffrey Rosen and Richard Donoghue, as well as director of legal counsel’s office Steven Engel, who described Trump’s attempts to cancel the election despite their objections that it would be unconstitutional and against the will of American voters.
Donoghue, then acting deputy attorney general, testified that when Trump threatened to replace Rosen as acting attorney general with Jeffrey Clark, assistant attorney general in the department’s Environment and Natural Resources division, he was told the change would trigger mass resignations in Ministry of Justice.
“Mr. President, I would resign immediately. I wouldn’t work for this guy for a minute,” Donoghue told Trump, referring to Clark.
During a committee hearing on January 6, Kinzinger described how Perry had lobbied the White House to promote Clark in the Justice Department in order to enlist his help in disrupting the election. Perry inappropriately brought Clark to a meeting at the White House and wrote to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows urging him to appoint Clark to a role with “authority to get what needs to be done done.”
Earlier this month, Perry denied a plea for clemency. “The notion that I have ever sought a presidential pardon for myself or other members of Congress is an absolute, shameless and soulless lie,” Perry. said on Twitter.
Kinzinger deliberately cross-referenced the testimony of pardon seekers with live testimony from Justice Department officials who refused to comply with Trump’s order.
“They knew that everything they were doing was a lie and was wrong,” Kinzinger said of those seeking clemency. “This is another reason to respect those who came to testify today.”
Last week, Trump reaffirmed his intention to pardon people charged in connection with the US Capitol riots if he becomes president again in 2024.
“And if I ever become president, if I choose to do so, I will look very, very seriously at them asking for clemency,” Trump said of those accused of the uprising.