Former aides to then-President Donald Trump testified in interviews with the bipartisan House select committee investigating the events culminating in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters that several Republican members of Congress sought presidential pardons, it was revealed Thursday during a public committee hearing.
The committee aired recordings of witness questioning in which it was stated that the likes of Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Matt Gaetz of Florida asked for pardons by Trump.
Mo Brooks of Alabama previewed a possible line of defense for the alleged pardon seekers in a Jan. 11 email to a Trump White House official arguing that a pardon was necessary not because of crimes committed but because of the prospect of retribution by “vitriolic Socialist Democrats.”
Brooks’s message suggested pardons might be extended to all Republicans who signed on to a longshot Texas lawsuit seeking that election results be overturned in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
The existence of pardon requests had been speculated upon, and referenced in earlier hearings, to the degree that it was something of a parlor game on social media to predict whose names would become associated with requested pardons in the final days of the Trump presidency.
It remained uncertain after Thursday’s hearings which members had actively sought pardons and how wide-ranging their requests were. Initially, more than one of the six or seven members named denied having asked to be pardoned by the outgoing president.
The subject of pardons also came up in earlier select-committee hearings, notably when former White House adviser Jared Kushner, husband of Trump daughter Ivanka Trump, testified that he had not paid particularly close attention to the prospect of a walkout by then–White House counsel Pat Cipollone because he was working on “[getting} pardons done” and when Trump legal-team member John Eastman was shown to have written that he’d determined he should be on “the pardon list if that is still in the works.”
The Associated Press contributed.