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Jan. 6 Committee: Rep. Matt Gaetz asked Donald Trump for pardon before and after Jan. 6

PNJ.com (Pensacola) logo PNJ.com (Pensacola) 6/24/2022 Jim Little, Pensacola News Journal
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz speaks during a campaign kickoff event April 9 at the Heaven's Trail Event Barn in Milton. Gaetz sought a pardon from President Donald Trump before and after the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the House Jan. 6 Select Committee revealed Thursday. © John Blackie/jblackie@pnj.com U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz speaks during a campaign kickoff event April 9 at the Heaven's Trail Event Barn in Milton. Gaetz sought a pardon from President Donald Trump before and after the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the House Jan. 6 Select Committee revealed Thursday.

Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz sought a pardon from President Donald Trump before and after the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the House Jan. 6 Select Committee revealed Thursday.

Other media outlets have previously reported Gaetz sought a pardon from Trump in the closing month of his term, but Thursday's revelation was the first time Trump administration officials confirmed on the record that Gaetz sought a pardon.

Former White House Senior Advisor Eric Herschman told the Jan. 6 Committee during a recorded deposition Gaetz had requested a pardon.

"The general tone was, 'We may get prosecuted because we were defensive of the president's positions on these things,'" Herschman said of the pardon request.

Herschman noted that not even former President Richard Nixon's pardon was as broad as what was being requested by Gaetz and other members of Congress.

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., sent an email to the White House on Jan. 11 requesting a pardon for himself and noting it was "pursuant to a request from Matt Gaetz."

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Brooks asked for a general pardon for all members of Congress who voted to reject the electoral college votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania.

Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told the committee in a recorded deposition that Gaetz and Brooks asked the president for "preemptive pardons" for a group of lawmakers.

"Mr. Gaetz was personally pushing for a pardon, and he was doing so since early December," Hutchinson said. "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."

Gaetz's office directed the News Journal to a statement Gaetz issued on Twitter following the hearing.

"The January 6 Committee is an unconstitutional political sideshow," Gaetz wrote on Twitter. "It is rapidly losing the interest of the American people and now resorts to siccing federal law enforcement on political opponents."

After the video testimony played during the hearing, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., one of two Republicans serving on the Jan. 6 Committee, questioned why lawmakers were seeking pardons.

"The only reason I know to ask for a pardon is because you think you've committed a crime," Kinzinger said.

Jim Little can be reached at jwlittle@pnj.com and 850-208-9827.

This article originally appeared on Pensacola News Journal: Jan. 6 Committee: Rep. Matt Gaetz asked Donald Trump for pardon before and after Jan. 6

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