Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.
Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, reportedly floated a “blanket pardon” to two organizers of the January 6 pro-Trump rallies that descended into a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The allegations are part of a bombshell report from Rolling Stone where two rally organizers anonymously claim there were “dozens” of meetings between the organizers and members of Congress who helped plan the rallies.
The two sources say they were in direct and regular contact with Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Louie Gohmert of Texas, and Lauren Boebert of Colorado—fierce Trump allies who have since the January 6 riots downplayed their violence while complaining about the treatment of those who’ve been arrested for committing crimes that day. The sources also say former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, a former House Freedom Caucus member, was deeply involved as well.
Gosar’s alleged role is particularly damning.
One of the organizers told Rolling Stone that Gosar gave them “several assurances” about a “blanket pardon” from Trump for charges stemming from an unrelated investigation in exchange for their help in planning the protests, an obvious quid pro quo.
That organizer says at one point Gosar told him “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.”
The other organizer confirmed that Gosar dangled the pardons, and complained that while they would have helped out anyway, “to use something like that and put that out on the table when someone is so desperate, it’s really not good business.”
Gosar, a controversial politician who has repeatedly palled around with white nationalist groups, is in the crosshairs of the House January 6 committee: In their sweeping document request during the investigation, the committee included requests for executive-branch communications with his chief of staff.
The January 6 organizers had reason for optimism: Trump pardoned a number of political allies throughout his presidency, especially in its closing months, including his former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, whom Trump pardoned in early December while Flynn led efforts to claim the 2020 election had been stolen. Trump also pardoned Steve Bannon, his former White House chief of staff and a key player in organizing the efforts to dispute Trump’s election loss, on the final day of his presidency.
But Rolling Stone’s two sources apparently missed the cut.
Both of Rolling Stone’s sources say they’re cooperating with the House’s January 6 investigation.