BREAKING: In the final weeks of Mr. Trump’s term, Mr. Gaetz sought something in return. He privately asked the White House for blanket pre-emptive pardons for himself and unidentified congressional allies for any crimes they may have committed 1)…
Justice Department investigators had begun questioning Mr. Gaetz’s associates about his conduct, including whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old that violated sex trafficking laws, in an inquiry that grew out of the case of an indicted associate in Florida. 2)
It was unclear whether Mr. Gaetz or the White House knew at the time about the inquiry, or who else he sought pardons for. Mr. Gaetz did not tell White House aides that he was under investigation for potential sex trafficking violations when he made the request. 3)
But top White House lawyers and officials viewed the request for a pre-emptive pardon as a nonstarter that would set a bad precedent, the people said. 4)
Aides told Mr. Trump of the request, though it is unclear whether Mr. Gaetz discussed the matter directly with the president. Mr. Trump ultimately pardoned dozens of allies and others in the final months of his presidency 5)
In recent days, some Trump associates have speculated that Mr. Gaetz’s request for a group pardon was an attempt to camouflage his own potential criminal exposure. 6)
Either way, Mr. Gaetz’s appeal to the Trump White House shows how the third-term congressman sought to leverage an unlikely presidential relationship he had spent years cultivating. 7)
This account of Mr. Gaetz’s dealings with the Trump White House is based on interviews with four people briefed on the exchanges about his pardon request and other Trump confidants. A spokesman for Mr. Trump declined to comment. 8)
Though Mr. Gaetz had little formal power in the House, where he remains a backbencher, he offered Mr. Trump what he craved and what Republican congressional leaders would not always offer: fierce loyalty and a taste for bare-knuckle political combat. 9)
Though Mr. Trump wielded his clemency power in self-serving ways unlike any other president, a blanket pardon for Mr. Gaetz would have stood out because it failed to specify the crimes being pardoned and ... 10)
lacked the “public healing” justifications for rare such past exercises of the pardon authority, said Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard Law School professor who tracked Mr. Trump’s pardons. 11)
“If Trump had granted it, which he didn’t,” Mr. Goldsmith said, “the pardon would have on some dimensions been the most audacious of his many audacious pardons.” 12)

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More from @TracieMac2021

6 Mar
Guys, I have been doing a little research because the phone call we now know happened between a Proud Boy and the White House got me.... intrigued. I kinda went down a rabbit hole. THREAD 1)
The Cozy Relationship Between Project Veritas and the Proud Boys: When President Trump says, as he did in Tuesday night’s debate, “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” he may as well be speaking to Veritas as well. 2)…
Project Veritas Video Was a ‘Coordinated Disinformation Campaign’. The timing of the deceptive video, which accuses Ilhan Omar of voter fraud, indicates that several conservatives, including Donald Trump Jr., may have known about it in advance. 3)…
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