It’s unclear whether Gaetz or the White House were aware of the Justice Department’s investigation when he filed the pardon, the Times said. Although Trump was informed of the request, it was also unclear whether Gaetz had spoken to him directly about the matter.
A week ago, however, the congressman denied having asked Trump for forgiveness when asked about the possibility by POLITICO. Reached by phone on Tuesday evening, Gaetz stood by this statement, but said he had not read the Times article.
“The recent false allegations against me are not something I have ever discussed with Trump, pardons or otherwise,” he previously told POLITICO.
Gaetz said he and other lawmakers met with Trump to discuss a broader pardon strategy following the Jan. 6 Capitol uprising. In that exchange, he advised the former president to pardon himself, his family, administrative officials and others who supported Trump’s election on insurrection charges.
Trump was later charged by the House with inciting a riot but was acquitted in the Senate. In his final hours in office, Trump issued dozens of pardons for people ranging from former adviser Steve Bannon to rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black.