Florida Representative Matt Gaetz reportedly asked a top Trump White House aide to inform then-chief of staff Mark Meadows of his desire to receive a presidential pardon that would have kept him from facing any criminal charges.
Mr Gaetz was part of a then-ongoing investigation into whether he violated laws against sex trafficking by allegedly paying for a teenage girl to cross state lines. He and the girl were allegedly in a sexual relationship.
John McEntee, the University of Connecticut football star turned Trump White House Personnel Office Boss, told the House January 6 committee that Mr Gaetz personally asked him to engage with Mr Meadows on obtaining a pardon for him during a deposition held earlier this year.
“He told me to ask Meadows for a pardon,” said Mr McEntee, according to a transcript of the deposition released by the panel on Tuesday and shared on Twitter by a Politico reporter.
He said the request came during an encounter with Mr Gaetz over dinner in Washington, which took place at the Florida congressman’s request.
Mr McEntee said Mr Gaetz told him that the Department of Justice was “launching an investigation into him, or that there is an investigation into him. and he didn't do anthing wrong. but they're going to try to make his life hell”.
“And, you know, it the President could give him a pardon, that would be great,” he recalled Mr Gaetz as saying.
The ex-Trump aide said he asked Mr Meadows about the request but was told the White House was not going to grant Mr Gaetz a pardon. Wnder questioning from investigators, Mr McEntee recalled that he did not discuss the request with anyone other than the ex-chief of staff, and never informed Mr Gaetz that a pardon would not be forthcoming.
Mr McEntee was notably who Mr Trump charged with purging his administration of disloyal appointees in expectation of a second term.