Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) did a contentious interview with “The Beat” host Ari Melber on MSNBC Monday and the two threw down over allegations by the left that the firebrand Republican had sought a pardon from former President Trump.
(Video Credit: MSNBC)
Melber referenced a December 2020 meeting at the White House where Trump was reportedly consulting with his advisers. He alleged that Trump discussed at the meeting ways to overturn the 2020 presidential election. At the time, Trump thought that former Vice President Mike Pence had the authority to refuse to certify the election results in Congress as the presiding officer.
The MSNBC host wanted to know where Gaetz stood on the issue during the meeting.
“Nothing,” Gaetz responded. “I was seeking to understand the process because this was unprecedented.”
“Did you hear anything in that meeting that you considered unconstitutional or illegal?” Melber probed.
“No,” Gaetz succinctly replied.
Then Melber broached the subject of a pardon being sought by Gaetz.
“Then why after that meeting did you seek a pardon for yourself and others who attended that meeting?” the leftist host asked, seeking to entrap the Republican.
“That’s been misreported,” the congressman told Melber. “What I’ve suggested is that there were various groups of people that President Trump was considering pardoning for a variety of reasons, and I was very involved in a number of pardon negotiations.”
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The New York Times reported in April 2021 that Gaetz requested a blanket pardon in the final weeks of the Trump administration. At least three less-than-credible witnesses during the House Jan. 6 committee’s investigation into the Capitol riots claimed that was the case. Gaetz denied ever doing so.
“We’ve got multiple people — the director of White House presidential personnel, a Trump loyalist, lawyer Eric Herschmann, Cassidy Hutchinson — they all testified under oath that you specifically requested a pardon,” Melber asserted, before playing testimony from former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson and former White House senior adviser Eric Herschmann.
Each witness has “an incredible legal liability if they lied about this,” Melber asserted. “So the question is, can you really say that all of them are committing perjury, lying on you? A. And B, if a pardon was requested, why not just tell us what were you worried about? What was it that you thought you or others might be indicted for?”
“Cassidy Hutchinson is a known liar. There’s testimony she’s given that directly results in perjury. So, I would certainly take exception with her testimony. I do not remember it the same way Eric Herschmann does. I did have conversations with Eric Herschmann about different groups of people that could potentially receive pardons, even including some of the people who may have committed a technical violation of federal law but that weren’t engaged in violence on Jan. 6,” he heatedly stated.
“So this–” Melber started.
Gaetz obviously wasn’t going to sit and listen to false allegations and made himself clear on the accusation.
“Hold on, now. Let me finish here,” Gaetz interjected.
“I had a lot of conversations with [former White House Presidential Personnel Office Director John] McEntee about pardons for other folks and different groups of people. Whether or not some lawmakers would’ve fallen within those groups, I think, you know, could be debated and discussed. But when it comes to, you know, was I asking for something specifically for me and only me under those circumstances? The answer would be no,” he claimed.
“Did you advocate a pardon for other lawmakers to Mr. McEntee or others?” Melber said, refusing to let go of the issue.
“There were discussions about pardons for President Trump, his family members, his allies, and presumably members of Congress could have fallen in that group. But there was nothing in the [December 2021] meeting that would’ve resulted in any need for a pardon,” the young Republican informed the MSNBC host.
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