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Republican lawmakers asked the White House for pardons before and after Jan. 6

A video displays a discussion about presidential pardons on Thursday during the fifth hearing by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Various Republican members of Congress requested pardons from then-President Donald Trump in the final days of the administration, testimony revealed today.

Five days after the insurrection, Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., sent an email with the subject line "Pardons" to the White House requesting a pardon for Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., himself and "every congressman or senator who voted to reject the electoral college vote submissions of Arizona and Pennsylvania."

In a taped deposition shown during the hearing, Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, said Brooks and Gaetz advocated for blanket pardons for House members who were involved in a Dec. 21 White House meeting.

Specifically, Gaetz had been asking for a pardon since "early December," Hutchinson said, noting Reps. Andy Biggs, Louie Gohmert and Scott Perry also sought pardons from the White House. John McEntee, a former White House aide, also said Gaetz had told him he asked Meadows for a pardon.

Hutchinson testified she had heard that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia had requested a pardon from the White House counsel's office, but did not communicate with Greene about that. No pardons were issued.

"The only reason you ask for a pardon is if you think you've committed a crime," Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the Democratic-led select committee, said during today's hearing.

Eric Herschmann, a Trump White House lawyer, told the committee in a videotaped interview that Gaetz sought a pardon "from the beginning of time up until today, for any and all things."

On Twitter, Gaetz did not deny the claims, but wrote: "The January 6 Committee is an unconstitutional political sideshow. It is rapidly losing the interest of the American people and now resorts to siccing federal law enforcement on political opponents."

Herschmann said the "general tone" of the requests was: "We may get prosecuted because we were defensive of the president's position on these things."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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