Jan. 6 Transcripts Shed New Light on How Trump Considered Blanket Pardons

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In its report, the committee referred repeatedly to pardon requests, but singled out those from members of Congress who had attended a Dec. 21, 2020, White House meeting in which a plan to overturn the election had been discussed, as “revealing their own clear consciousness of guilt.”

In his testimony, Mr. McEntee recalled that Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, told him he had sought a pardon through Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump’s chief of staff. Mr. McEntee told the committee he believed Mr. Gaetz was concerned about a federal sex trafficking investigation. Mr. Gaetz has denied wrongdoing in the matter.

Ms. Hutchinson told the panel that both Mr. Gaetz and Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama had pressed for “a blanket pardon for members involved in that meeting and a handful of other members that weren’t at the Dec. 21 meeting as the pre-emptive pardons.”

She also said Mr. Meadows had sought broad pardons.

“Mr. Meadows was personally concerned that there would be a connotation of violence associated with everybody that had gone to the Capitol that day, so he had thought it was an idea worth entertaining and raising to White House Counsel’s Office to pardon those who had been inside the Capitol,” she said.

She added: “There was a period where several White House staffers and administration officials wanted to pardon themselves prior to leaving, and he was one of them. I don’t remember him lobbying the president very hard for it, but I know that, if there were going to be staff pardons, he wanted to be included in that group.”

A spokesman for Mr. Meadows denied that he had ever sought a pardon from Mr. Trump.

According to Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony, Representatives Louie Gohmert of Texas, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Andy Biggs of Arizona all expressed interest in receiving pardons. She also testified that Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio had “talked about” pardons but did not directly ask for one, and that she had heard that newly elected Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia had also expressed interest to the White House Counsel’s Office.

The lawmakers involved have denied seeking pardons, except for Mr. Gaetz and Mr. Brooks. Mr. Brooks has confirmed seeking a pardon for all members of Congress, but said it was because he believed the Justice Department would be “abused” by the Biden administration. Mr. Brooks has released the letter he sent the White House, in which he said he was putting the request in writing at the instruction of Mr. Trump.

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