- Gaetz sought a request for forgiveness from “the beginning of time until today, for each and every thing.”
- That’s according to Trump’s attorney, Eric Herschmann, and two other Trump officials.
- The revelation came at the end of the committee’s hearing on Thursday, January 6.
The January 6 committee aired a series of video testimonies from former Trump administration officials detailing which Republican members of Congress sought pardons from former President Donald Trump at the end of his term as he and his allies exhausted avenues to stay in power. .
The highlight: Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida.
According to multiple officials who spoke with the committee, Gaetz began pushing for a pardon well before other Republicans who were involved in trying to overturn the 2020 election.
“Mr. Gaetz was personally pushing for a pardon, and he had been since early December,” Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House assistant to chief of staff Mark Meadows, said in testimony broadcast by the committee Thursday.
“I’m not sure why,” she continued. “Mr. Gaetz contacted me to ask if he could meet with Mr. Meadows to receive a presidential pardon.”
Several other attendees confirmed that Gaetz asked for a pardon; it would become public two months after Trump left office that Gaetz was reportedly under investigation for alleged sex trafficking.
“I know he asked for it, but I don’t know if he ever got one or what happened to it,” said John McEntee, a former director of the White House Office of Personnel.
“The general tone was, ‘We may be prosecuted because we were defensive of, you know, the president’s positions on these things,'” said Eric Herschmann, a former White House senior adviser. “The forgiveness that he was discussing, requesting, was as broad as can be described, from… the beginning of time to today, for anything and everything.”
“He had mentioned Nixon,” Herschmann said. “And I said Nixon’s pardon was never that broad.”
Gaetz was apparently referencing President Richard Nixon, who was pardoned by President Gerald Ford after he resigned amid the Watergate scandal.
Hutchinson named five other House Republicans who have applied for Trump’s pardon in the wake of Jan. 6, including Republicans Mo Brooks of Alabama, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, according to Hutchinson, asked for an “update on whether the White House is going to pardon members of Congress,” but did not ask for one personally.
—January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) June 23, 2022
At the time, a federal investigation into Gaetz unrelated to his election-related actions was probably already brewing.
In March 2021, the New York Times revealed that Gaetz was under investigation for an alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and may have violated federal anti-sex trafficking laws in the process. Gaetz, who has not been charged, has maintained his innocence.
“The accusations against me are as scathing as they are false. I think there are people in the Justice Department who are trying to criminalize my sexual conduct, you know, when I was single,” he said. told Axios at the time.
It was later revealed that Gaetz had sought a preemptive pardon from Trump, although the exact timing was unclear at the time. Trump, for his part, denied that Gaetz had ever asked for a pardon.
In January 2022, the Daily Beast reported that a witness told prosecutors that Gaetz knew he had had sex with a minor and was in the room when he was told.
Contacted for comment, Gaetz’s office directed Insider to a tweet in which the congressman does not refute any of the charges.
-Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) June 23, 2022
Here is a complete timeline of the allegations against Gaetz.