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Jan. 6 committee alleges that 6 Congressional Republicans sought pardons from Trump

SUSAN DAVIS, HOST:

The House's January 6 committee ended its series of hearings this month with a bombshell. Half a dozen Republican members of Congress who helped Donald Trump try to overturn the results of the 2020 election also sought pardons from him. Those lawmakers were named through committee interviews with former Trump White House aides. Here's Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to then-chief of staff Mark Meadows.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CASSIDY HUTCHINSON: Mr. Gaetz is personally pushing for a pardon, and he was doing so since early December. Mr. Biggs and Mr. Gohmert asked for one as well.

DAVIS: The revelation sparks new questions for those lawmakers and about the panel's next steps. Joining us now is NPR congressional correspondent Claudia Grisales.

Hey, Claudia.

CLAUDIA GRISALES, BYLINE: Hey, Sue.

DAVIS: So tell us more about these members and how they're responding to this new evidence.

GRISALES: Right. As we heard there, they include GOP Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida, who was named several times in testimony. Gaetz, for his part, didn't deny the claims but took the opportunity to attack the panel as a political sideshow. Other members who these former Trump aides said asked for pardons were Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Mo Brooks of Alabama and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. So far, several of these Republicans have denied they committed any wrongdoing. And in Greene's case, the testimony about her asking for a pardon was secondhand. And one member, Brooks, has said he'll testify before the panel now, but only under certain conditions.

DAVIS: So the panel has now wrapped up five hearings where they've been presenting the case that Trump and his allies sought to fraudulently overturn the 2020 presidential election. So what comes next?

GRISALES: Right. The House is largely away for the next couple of weeks, so the panel will hit the pause button for now on these hearings and resume after they return from the 4 of July recess. Committee chairman Bennie Thompson told reporters after Thursday's hearing there's at least two more. One is focused on how Trump ignited the violent January 6 mob and another on how the then-President Trump was not responsive to the attack for 187 minutes on the day of. So at least two of those hearings are planned, maybe more. And the panel is negotiating whether Ginni Thomas - this is the wife to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas - will testify - perhaps - behind closed doors to the panel next month. The committee is also sifting through months of video from a documentary filmmaker who spent time with the Trump family before the 2020 election, and they're deciding whether they will share any new evidence from that in their future findings.

DAVIS: This is all happening while there's been something of a clash between the committee and the Department of Justice over their parallel investigations. Where does that stand?

GRISALES: Right. The Justice Department has said they've had to delay a trial involving several members tied to the extremist Proud Boys group because of the committee's probe. The Justice Department also want to access the committee's findings, and members tell us they could start turning over documents as early as July. And we've also heard this committee implore the agency to do more in their criminal probe of January 6. And we saw that investigation ramp up this past week with a raid at the home of a former Trump Justice Department official and a new wave of subpoenas.

DAVIS: That's NPR's Claudia Grisales.

Thank you so much.

GRISALES: Thank you much.

(SOUNDBITE OF TOMMY GUERRERO SONG, "IN MY HEAD") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Claudia Grisales is a congressional reporter assigned to NPR's Washington Desk.