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A Damning Letter and Lots of Pardons: 3 Takeaways From the Fifth Jan 6 Hearing

At least five congressional Republicans, the House Committee revealed, sought pre-emptive pardons from Trump.

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The House Committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol that occurred on 6 January 2021, held its fifth hearing on Thursday, 22 June.

The highlight of the hearing featured a Justice Department (DoJ) official named Jeff Clarke, who turned out to be former US President Donald Trump's pawn within the DoJ in the latter's efforts to overthrow the 2020 presidential elections from which Joe Biden had emerged victorious.

There was also lots of talk around certain Republicans seeking pre-emptive presidential pardons.

Here are the three takeaways from the hearing.

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Who is Jeff Clarke and what did he do?

The hearing revealed a Trump plot within the Justice Department that aimed at overturning the results of the 2020 presidential election.

The official at the center of this was Jeff Clarke, a Trump-supporting environmental lawyer working at the DoJ.

Clark drafted a letter that he wanted to send to the state legislatures in some Republican states, like Georgia, that would create confusion and doubts about Joe Biden's victory in the election, and that the DoJ itself had concerns regarding electoral fraud in multiple states.

Of course, the department had already concluded that no fraud had occurred in the election at all. For sending this letter, however, "Donald Trump offered Clark the job of the acting attorney general, replacing Jeffrey Rosen (attorney general from December 2020 to January 2021), with the understanding that Clark would send this letter and take other actions the president requested," said Representative Liz Cheney, the House Committee's Republican vice chair.

The letter was never reached any Republican state.

Rosen and the-then Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue refused to sign it. In fact, a White House counsel said at the time that the "toxic" letter should never be seen again because making it public would be a "murder-suicide."

Another man to be implicated in this scandal is former Trump aide Kenneth Klukowski, a recent joinee at the Justice Department, whose email, according to Cheney, suggests that he "was simultaneously working with Jeffrey Clark to draft the proposed letter to Georgia officials to overturn their certified election and working with Dr Eastman (a pro-Trump lawyer) to help pressure the vice president to overturn the election," Cheney added.

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Pardons, Pardons, and Pardons

The committee had revealed evidence during the third hearing last week that pro-Trump lawyer John Eastman, whose actions you can read about here, was asked to be put on the pardons list.

During the fifth hearing, lots of other names came forward. At least five congressional Republicans - Representatives Andy Biggs, Mo Brooks, Matt Gaetz (apparently "since early December"), Louie Gohmert, and Scott Perry - sought pardons.

What's the point of a pardon? Well, in the United States, this is when the president forgives a federal crime committed by a person, and sets aside punishment.

It appears as if the aforementioned Congressmen sought pardons for their alleged role in the January 6 Capitol riot and the larger plot to overturn the 2020 election.

Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to the then White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, also said that she had heard Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene asking the White House counsel's office for a pardon, from deputy counsel Pat Philbin.

Perry has rejected the claim that he sought a pardon, and has called it "a shameless, soulless lie." Hutchinson, however, has said said he talked to her about it quite directly.

Hutchinson also said that Rep Jim Jordan had spoken to the White House about pardon but she could not confirm whether he ad actually asked for one or not.

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More Evidence Against Trump's Pro-Active Attempts to Overturn 2020 Election

Trump never ceased to be at the center of efforts to overturn the election, and he often uses state machinery to pursue political ends.

For instance, the committee revealed how he pressured officials of the DoJ to investigate a baseless conspiracy theory from the internet that an Italian defense contractor had somehow estalished a satellite system that automatically converted Trump votes into Biden ones.

Republican congressman Scott Perry, one of those allegedly seeking a pardon, went on to the extent of texting Trump's chief of staff at the time and asking, "Why can't we just work with the Italian government?"

The secretary of defense at the time, Christopher Miller even called the US military attache at the embassy in Italy in order to try and open an investigation, the committee revealed.

Additionally, the House Committee brought forth a handwritten note by Richard Donoghue, in which Trump was quoted as saying: "Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen."

Donoghue confirmed that this was exactly what the former president had said.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  donald trump   US Capitol Riot   January 6 

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