As promised, the Jan. 6 Committee just aired testimony from former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann, ex-Mark Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson and Trump’s director of the White House presidential personnel office, John McEntee — all of whom outlined what they knew about Republican requests for pardons from Trump.
Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) teased in recent days that the panel would reveal a list of members of Congress who requested pardons, presumably for their roles in helping Trump try to overturn the 2020 election.
The list includes: Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Scott Perry (R-PA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Andy Biggs (R-AZ). Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) both spoke of wanting pardons, but didn’t specifically ask any of the three White House witnesses featured in today’s hearing to make it happen, according to the testimony. Jordan “talked about congressional pardons,” Hutchinson said, but never asked for one. Greene asked the White House counsel’s office for a pardon, Hutchinson said, but didn’t ask Hutchinson specifically for one.
A real shocker: Gaetz was apparently particularly aggressive about his pardon request. Both he and Brooks advocated for a “blanket pardon” for all House members who were at a Dec. 21 Oval Office meeting in which planning for Trump’s election-theft campaign took place. Gaetz even was requesting a pardon in early December, before that infamous meeting — “I’m not sure why,” Hutchinson said of the timing — and the kind of pardon he wanted was “as broad as you could describe,” Herschmann said in the recorded testimony the committee aired today.
“The general tone was, ‘we may get prosecuted because we were defensive of the President’s positions on these things,'” Herschmann said. “The pardon that he (Gaetz) was discussing requesting was as broad as you could describe — from the beginning of time up until today for all things. He mentioned Nixon and I said, ‘Nixon’s pardon was never nearly that broad.'”
McEntee also mentioned in his video testimony that blanket pardons for everyone involved in Jan. 6 events (think, the rally on the Ellipse, election decertification, etc.) were discussed as well. Several of the GOP lawmakers mentioned by witnesses today have already responded, either combatting the information or downplaying the severity of their actions. As Brooks put it: thankfully “no one was persecuted.”
The information about who requested pardons has been long anticipated. It’s as juicy as it is damning, speaking to the intentions of those involved and the level of awareness the crew had about the legality of what they were doing as they attempted to carry out the coup.
As Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) pointedly put it in today’s hearing: “The only reason I know to ask for a pardon is because you think you committed a crime.”
The Best Of TPM Today
Here’s what you should read this evening:
In case you missed our preview this morning: How Trump Tried To Hijack The DOJ Before Jan. 6
Catch up on our live coverage of today’s hearings here: Jan. 6 Hearing: Looking At Trump’s Push To Corrupt The DOJ For Election Steal Plot
The breaking news: Feds Search Home Of Trump DOJ Flunkie Jeff Clark
And the latest from Josh Kovensky: What We Know About The Feds Very Busy Wednesday
Three must-reads from Kate Riga on today’s SCOTUS rulings overturning New York’s concealed carry gun law: SCOTUS Strikes Down New York Gun Control Law, Expanding Gun Rights In Wake Of Mass Shootings
And this: Alito The Troll Makes His Return
And this: Breyer Underscores Lunacy Of Cherry-Picking Historical Evidence To Determine Constitutional Rights
Yesterday’s Most Read Story
Salty Mo Brooks Congratulates Dems After Losing Senate Runoff Post-Trump Snub — Cristina Cabrera
What We Are Reading
Jan. 6 hearings use TV tricks to great effect even as critics call them show biz — David Folkenflik
Steve Bannon Blasts Murdoch, Saying His Media Empire Is Dumping Trump For DeSantis — Mary Papenfuss
Opinion: These two women reminded America why Trump must be prosecuted — Frida Ghitis