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Monday, June 13, 2022

'Who Were They?'

Jan. 6 Panel to Name Republicans Who Sought Pardons From Trump

JESSICA CORBETT for Common Dreams

Scott Perry, definitely, but probably all the rest of these guys and more
"Ok, we know Scott Perry. Who were the other members of Congress who asked Trump for a pardon?"

That's what the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and others wanted to know after U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said Thursday night that the Pennsylvania Republican was among multiple GOP members of Congress who sought a pardon from then-President Donald Trump early last year.

"Rep. Scott Perry… has refused to testify here," said Cheney, vice chair of the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, during the panel's public prime-time hearing.

"As you will see, Rep. Perry contacted the White House in the weeks after January 6 to seek a presidential pardon," Cheney continued. "Multiple other Republican congressmen also sought presidential pardons for their roles in attempting to overturn the 2020 election."

Perry claimed Friday that "the notion that I ever sought a presidential pardon for myself or other members of Congress is an absolute, shameless, and soulless lie."

Meanwhile, Common Cause Pennsylvania executive director Khalif Ali said Friday morning that "we are deeply concerned by Vice Chair Cheney's statement" and "voters deserve to have elected officials who respect our votes, regardless of the outcome."

Ali continued:

What we have seen, since the November 2020 election, indicates that Rep. Perry and others acted to force the election outcome they wanted—rather than accept the decision made by voters.

The rule of law must apply to everyone. We look forward to hearing more from the select committee about their evidence that Rep. Perry sought a preemptive presidential pardon. Seeking a pardon is not a step taken lightly and indicates that Rep. Perry knew that his actions ran counter to his constitutional duty.

"We appreciate the diligence with which the select committee has been conducting its investigation," he added. "We look forward to all participants in this insurrection being held accountable."

Cheney's statement comes after CNN reported just before Trump left office last year that his legal advisers had warned him that "pardons for Republican lawmakers who had sought them for their role in the Capitol insurrection would anger the very Senate Republicans who will determine his fate" in his historic second impeachment trial.

The committee chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), confirmed to CNN chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju after the hearing Thursday that "we have documentation" of multiple Republicans who sought pardons from Trump and "that will come out in our hearings."

Another member of the nine-person panel, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), told Raju that "it's hard to find a more explicit statement of consciousness of guilt than looking for a pardon for actions you've just taken, assisting in a plan to overthrow the results of a presidential election."

Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), who is not on the committee, declared Friday that "House Republicans lobbied for presidential pardons after January 6th because they were complicit in an attempt to violently overthrow the U.S. government."

In a series of tweets late Thursday and early Friday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) asked the House GOP—and some specific members—if they asked Trump for pardons.

Ocasio-Cortez specifically took aim at GOP Reps. Lauren Boebert (Colo.), Andrew Clyde (Ga.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). She was also among several Democrats who confirmed that they had not requested a pardon from the former Republican president.

"Ok I will start. I didn't ask for a pardon," Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) tweeted late Thursday. "I am not kidding about this. Every single member should answer this simple question."

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) responded that "I'll get this ball rolling on the House side. I didn't ask for a pardon."

Democrats who posted similar comments on social media in the wake of Thursday's hearing include Reps. Alma Adams (N.C.), Sean Casten (Ill.), Jesús "Chuy" García (Ill.), Barbara Lee (Calif.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.), Chellie Pingree (Maine), Mark Pocan (Wis.), Mike Quigley (Ill.), Mary Gay Scanlon (Pa.), Juan Vargas (Calif.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.), and Nikema Williams (Ga.).

The committee's next two hearings are scheduled for 10:00 am ET on Monday, June 13 and Wednesday, June 15.