Former Trump administration officials at the Jan. 6 committee hearing Thursday said that Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Andy Biggs of Arizona inquired about presidential pardons, while Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio talked about pardons, during the waning days of the administration.
ADAM KINZINGER: My colleagues and I up here also take an oath. Some of them failed to uphold theirs, and instead, chose to spread the big lie. Days after the tragic events of January 6, some of these same Republican members requested pardons in the waning days of the Trump administration. Five days after the attack on the Capitol, Representative Mo Brooks sent the email on the screen now.
As you see, he emailed the White House, quote, "Pursuant to a request from Matt Gaetz, requesting a pardon for Representative Gaetz himself and unnamed others." Witnesses told the Select Committee that the President considered offering pardons to a wide range of individuals connected to the President. Let's listen to some of that testimony.
- And was Representative Gaetz requesting a pardon?
ERIC HERSCHMANN: I believe so. The general tone was, we may get prosecuted because we were defensive of the President's positions on these things. The pardon that he was discussing requesting was as broad as you could describe. From the beginning, I remember from the beginning of time up until today for any in all things. He mentioned Nixon, and I said Nixon's pardon was never nearly that broad.
- And are you aware of any members of Congress seeking pardons?
CASSIDY HUTCHINSON: I guess Mr. Gaetz, and Mr. Brooks I know both advocated for there to be a blanket pardon for members involved in that meeting, and a handful of other members that weren't at the December 21 meeting as the preemptive pardons. Mr. Gaetz was personally pushing for a pardon and he was doing so since early December. I'm not sure why. Mr. Gaetz had reached out to me to ask if he could have a meeting with Mr. Meadows about receiving a presidential pardon.
- Did they all contact you?
CASSIDY HUTCHINSON: Not all of them, but several of them did.
- So you mentioned Mr. Gaetz, Mr. Brooks.
CASSIDY HUTCHINSON: Mr. Biggs did. Mr. Jordan talked about congressional pardons, but he never asked me for one. It was more for an update on whether the White House is going to pardon members of Congress. Mr. Gohmert asked for one as well.
CASSIDY HUTCHINSON: Mr. Perry asked for a pardon too, I'm sorry.
- Mr. Perry? Did he talk to you directly?
CASSIDY HUTCHINSON: Yes, he did.
- Did Marjorie Taylor Greene contact you?
CASSIDY HUTCHINSON: No, she didn't contact me about it. I heard that she had asked White House counsel's office for a pardon from Mr. Philbin, but I didn't frequently communicate with Ms. Greene.
- Are you aware of any conversations or communications regarding the possibility of giving Congressman Matt Gaetz a pardon?
JOHN MCENTEE: Um, I know he had asked for it, but I don't know if he ever received one or what happened with it.
- How do you know that Congressman Gaetz asked for a pardon?
JOHN MCENTEE: He told me.
- Tell us about that.
JOHN MCENTEE: He told me he'd asked Meadows for a pardon.
- Were you involved in or did you witness any conversations about the possibility of a blanket pardon for everyone involved in January 6?
JOHN MCENTEE: I had heard that mentioned, yeah.
- Do you know whether the President had any conversations about potentially pardoning any family members?
JOHN MCENTEE: I know he had hinted at a blanket pardon for the January 6 thing for anybody, but I think he had for all the staff and everyone involved, not with January 6, but just before he left office I know he had talked about that.
ADAM KINZINGER: The only reason I know to ask for a pardon is because you think you've committed a crime.