Rep. Paul Gosar offered protest organizers a “blanket pardon” to motivate them to plan rallies on Jan. 6, reported Rolling Stone.
Gosar told the organizers he had spoken with former President Donald Trump about the pardons, which were never realized.
The GOP congressman has defended US Capitol rioters before, saying they were “peaceful protestors.”
GOP congressman Paul Gosar encouraged pro-Trump rally organizers to plan protests in Washington DC on January 6 by telling them they would get a “blanket pardon” for another, unrelated investigation, according to two of the protest’s planners.
Gosar had repeatedly assured them of the pardons, to the point where they believed it was a “done deal,” they told Rolling Stone in an exclusive released Sunday. Both organizers have been speaking with the congressional committee investigating the US Capitol riots, per Rolling Stone, and were kept anonymous. It is unclear what the original unrelated investigation mentioned by the pair was.
In the interview, one organizer said they were given the impression that Gosar spoke to former President Donald Trump about the pardons and that they had been mentioned by name.
“They were working on submitting the paperwork and getting members of the House Freedom Caucus to sign on as a show of support,” the organizer told Rolling Stone.
The two anonymous sources said Gosar told them: “I was just going over the list of pardons and we just wanted to tell you guys how much we appreciate all the hard work you’ve been doing,” according to the outlet.
To their dismay, the offer was never fulfilled, but they added that the pardons alone were not the sole impetus for their plans on January 6.
“I would have done it either way with or without the pardon,” the organizer told Rolling Stone.
“I do truly believe in this country, but to use something like that and put that out on the table when someone is so desperate, it’s really not good business,” the organizer continued.
They told Rolling Stone that they were unsettled by how the pro-Trump rallies on January 6 eventually turned into the violent attack on the US Capitol, prompting them to cooperate with investigations.
Meanwhile, Gosar, the representative for Arizona, has said that he “never instigated violence,” and that the idea that he involved in the Capitol riots was “devoid of reality.”
But he has also been outspoken in his defense of US Capitol rioters, calling them “peaceful protestors” who were being harassed by the Justice Department. One of Trump’s most ardent supporters, Gosar also said that Ashli Babbitt, a protestor who was shot by Capitol Police on January 6 and later died from her wounds, was “executed.”
Gosar’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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