Conservative insider denounces Republicans who wanted Trump to provide pardons for their involvement in his election scheme
Because Amanda Carpenter — known for her punditry for CNN and her articles for The Bulwark — is such a scathing critic of former President Donald Trump and the MAGA movement, it is easy to forget how conservative she actually is. Carpenter once served as communications director for Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and was a speechwriter for former Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina; DeMint is also a former president of the Heritage Foundation.
But while Carpenter has a right-wing resumé, she views Trump and his MAGA devotees not as traditional conservatives, but as dangerous far-right authoritarians — and she has been applauding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bipartisan January 6 select committee for shedding light on all the ways in which the MAGA crowd assaulted U.S. democracy following the 2020 election.
Carpenter, in an article published by The Bulwark on June 24, focuses on testimony from the committee’s June 23 hearing —stressing that some GOP members of Congress were hoping for presidential pardons during Trump’s final days in office. Those Republicans, according to Carpenter, all did their part to try to help Trump pull off a coup — and the fact that they wanted pardons underscores the treacherous nature of their actions.
“In the last half hour of its hearing (on June 23), the Jan. 6th committee revealed the names of six members of Congress who sought or expressed interest in presidential pardons for their participation in various plots to overturn the election,” Carpenter notes. “They were: Scott Perry, Matt Gaetz, Louie Gohmert, Andy Biggs, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Mo Brooks. At least those are the six pardon-seekers the committee knows of, based on interviews with former Trump Administration officials.”
Those Republicans, Carpenter notes, “knew” that “Trump’s wishes carried legal risk.”
The events that followed the 2020 presidential election were unprecedented in U.S. history. Never before had a U.S. president been voted out of office only to falsely claim that the election had been stolen from him; never before had an army of the president’s allies, from attorneys to politicians, gone to extreme lengths to overturn perfectly legitimate and democratic election results. And never before had a mob of the president’s supporters — some of whom wanted to lynch then-Vice President Mike Pence — violently attacked the U.S. Capitol Building in the hope of keeping the president-elect out of the White House.
\u201cEvery time you see a Republican like Kevin McCarthy or Elise Stefanik denigrating the January 6 Committee you are seeing a Republican actively engaged in the January 6 cover-up.\u201d— Amanda Carpenter (@Amanda Carpenter) 1654526376
\u201cBrooks also wanted pardons for people who supported the TX lawsuit\u201d— Amanda Carpenter (@Amanda Carpenter) 1656023926
Carpenter explains, “(Trump) wanted Department of Justice (DOJ) officials to lie about the election, creating a pretense that Republican members of Congress could use to reject Electoral College votes for Biden…. And for two reasons, we now know that Trump’s plan carried criminal liability: (1) The only man at the Department of Justice willing to carry out Trump’s schemes — former Trump EPA lawyer Jeffrey Clark — was arrested on Wednesday, (June 22). Law enforcement won’t confirm the reason for his arrest, but it is almost certainly connected to his efforts to alter the election results.”
The Never Trump conservative continues, “(2) The Jan. 6th Committee revealed (on June 23) that Republican members of Congress secretly sought pardons from Trump for their actions to help him overturn the election. As committee member Adam Kinzinger pointed out, ‘The only reason I know to ask for a pardon is because you think you’ve committed a crime’…. Trump’s disregard for the law was blatant.”
Carpenter points out that “a few days after Jan. 6th,” Brooks wanted Trump to “grant ‘all purpose’ pardons to all 147 congressional Republicans who objected to certifying Joe Biden’s election on January 6 and for the 126 Republicans who signed an amicus brief supporting the Texas lawsuit that sought to cancel votes, outright, in the swing states Trump lost.”
“Brooks cast this as a defensive move against an unfair future prosecution he feared from the Democrats,” Carpenter notes. “While Brooks’ plea for a mass pardon is paranoid — members of Congress are largely protected by the Constitution’s Speech and Debate Clause — it does indicate that Trump’s closest allies in Congress are worried about their criminal culpability connected to Jan. 6th.”
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