These Republicans sought a pardon for their role in Jan. 6, committee says
‘Just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen,’ Trump reportedly told his then-acting deputy attorney general
A number of Republican congressmen sought pardons from former President Donald Trump for their role in trying to overturn the 2020 election after Jan. 6, 2021, the select committee investigating the attack on the Capitol said during its hearing Thursday.
Reps. Andy Biggs, of Arizona, Mo Brooks, of Alabama, Louie Gohmert, of Texas, Matt Gaetz, of Florida, Marjorie Taylor Green, of Georgia, and Scott Perry, of Pennsylvania, were among the members of Congress who asked for pardons, according to the committee’s findings.
Brooks wrote in an email to the White House after Jan. 6, 2021, requesting a pardon for himself, Gaetz, and “every Congressman and Senator who voted to reject the electoral college vote submissions of Arizona and Pennsylvania.” Biggs, Gohmert, Green and Perry also sought pardons, according to interviews with former Trump officials.
“They knew that every bit of what they did was a lie and it was wrong,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-lll., one of two Republicans on the committee. Kinzinger said Trump wanted the Justice Department to legitimize his false claims of election fraud.
“The president wanted the department to sow doubt in the legitimacy of the election to empower his followers and members of Congress to take action,” he said. “If the department could just lend its credibility to the conspiracies, people would have the justification they needed to spread the big lie.”
The committee’s Thursday hearing focused on Trump’s efforts to overturn the election through the Justice Department, following past hearings on Trump’s failed efforts to convince then-Vice President Mike Pence and state lawmakers and election officials in swing states he lost.
Former acting deputy attorney general Richard Donoghue said during the hearing that Trump wanted the Justice Department to say the election was corrupt and that he House Republicans would do the rest.
“Just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen,” Donoghue recalled Trump saying, based on notes he took on a phone call with Trump.
Trump also wanted the Justice Department to seize voting machines and to install a new attorney general who would go along with his schemes.
“I do recall saying to people that somebody should be put in charge of the Justice Department who isn’t frightened of what’s going to be done to their reputation,” Rudy Giuliani said during a taped interview.
Donoghue said he and hundreds of others in the Justice Department would resign if Trump installed environmental lawyer Jeffrey Clark as attorney general, and that Clark would lead a “graveyard” of an agency.
Donoghue also said he found no evidence of fraud alleged by Trump to be credible.
“He had this arsenal of allegations that he wanted to rely on,” Donoghue said, but the allegations had no merit.