NeverTrump Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., claimed last week that President Trump’s recent pardons are a “misuse” of power.
Trump’s decision to pardon loyalists Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, as well as former Reps, Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., Steve Stockman, R-Texas, and Chris Collins, R-N.Y., was “legal and constitutional,” Toomey admitted, but should not have been done.
“I think the case of Mike Flynn, for instance, was completely legitimate to pardon him because the prosecution was an abuse of power. I don’t think Michael Flynn ever committed a crime,” Toomey said, referring to Trump’s first national security adviser.
“But some of these other cases — I mean, my goodness — we have tax fraud and bank fraud, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, but because they were close to the president, they got pardoned?” Toomey said.
Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his contacts with Russia in 2017. Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, was convicted of eight felonies in 2018, including tax and bank fraud.
Stone, an informal adviser to the 2016 Trump campaign, was convicted of seven felonies in 2019, including witness tampering.
Toomey, who is retiring at the end of his term, has been one of the most vocal Republican critics of Trump’s recent moves, including his efforts to challenge the results of the 2020 election.
He dismissed Trump’s claims that widespread election fraud occurred in Pennsylvania, urging Trump to drop his case and concede the election to Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
Toomey also denied any wrongdoing on the part of Pennsylvania election officials.
“I’m not aware of any significant wrongdoing here,” he claimed.
“Look, there are irregularities in every election,” Toomey added. “They tend to typically be very small and involve just a handful of ballots.”
Other Republicans, however, remain committed to challenging Biden’s alleged win.
Dozens of House Republicans plan to challenge the Electoral College’s results in Jan. 6 when Congress meets to certify the decision, according to Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., who is leading the effort.
There is “overwhelming” and “compelling” evidence that “serious voter fraud and election theft” occurred, Brooks argued, dismissing criticism from NeverTrump Republicans such as Toomey.
“There are dozens in the House of Representatives who have reached that conclusion, as I have,” Brooks said.
“We’re going to sponsor and co-sponsor objections to the Electoral College vote returns of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and maybe more depending on where we collectively want to go,” he added.
Responding specifically to NeverTrump Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., Brooks urged him to “do his homework.”
“He can either surrender to the people who support voter fraud, election theft, or he can fight for his country on this particular issue,” Brooks said of Kinzinger.
Kinzinger had previously slammed Brooks as a “grifter” for attempting to overturn the results of the election.
“I grew up as a Republican because I believe in smaller government and strong national defense, and that’s being destroyed by conspiracies right now and anger,” Kinzinger claimed. “I really do worry about the future of my party.”
Brother you’re a friend, but the only thing I’m surrendering to is the Constitution and the will of the people. I’m a fighter, and the Republic needs fighters to defend against descent into chaos. #RestoreOurGOP https://t.co/NWLFOMzSgp
— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) December 28, 2020