Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) insisted on Monday that he had never sought a full pardon from Donald Trump, though several former Trump administration officials testified under oath that he did.
Gaetz clashed with MSNBC’s Ari Melber on ‘The Beat’ as the host repeatedly pressed him on the allegation. Gaetz said he has been involved in pardon negotiations for other people, but has never sought one for himself.
Melber noted that several witnesses close to the Trump White House had testified last year to the House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol that Gaetz was among several Republican lawmakers seeking pardons for their involvement in then-President Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election.
“Here are some sworn testimonies from Trump insiders,” Melber said, showing the video.
“We have more people. The Presidential White House Chief of Staff, [Johnny McEntee], who is a Trump loyalist. Attorney Eric Herschmann. Cassidy Hutchinson, famously. All testified under oath that she specifically asked for a pardon.”
After showing the footage, Melber continued: “So the question is can you really say that all of them are committing perjury, lying about you? A. EB, if a pardon has been requested, why don’t you just tell us what concerned you? What did you think you or anyone else could be indicted for?”
Gaetz responded by disparaging Hutchinson, who was a top aide to former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, and saying he remembered things differently than Herschmann.
“Cassidy Hutchinson is a known liar,” Gaetz said.
“I don’t remember him the same way as Eric Herschmann,” she added. “I’ve had conversations with Eric Herschmann about different groups of people who could potentially receive pardons, including some of the people who may have committed a technical violation of federal law, but weren’t involved in the violence on Jan. 6.”
When asked if he supported pardons for other lawmakers, Gaetz was vague.
“No. There have been discussions about pardons for President Trump, his family members, his allies, and presumably members of Congress could have fallen into that group,” she said.
The New York Times first reported in April 2021 that Gaetz had, in the final weeks of the Trump administration, privately asked the White House to pardon himself and others for any crimes they might have committed. Last June, the January 6 committee aired testimony from Trump insiders who supported that report. According to the Washington Post in September, a Trump aide, McEntee, testified that Gaetz sought a preemptive pardon regarding a sex trafficking investigation in which he was a target.
Prosecutors have since recommended not to charge Gaetz in the matter, reportedly in part due to credibility issues with two central witnesses. His former partner Joel Greenberg was sentenced to 11 years in prison in the investigation.