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House panel subpoenas former Trump aide Navarro

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The House select subcommittee on the pandemic has issued a subpoena to Peter Navarro, a senior adviser to former President Trump, asking for documents and a deposition related to the committee’s investigation into political interference from the former administration. 

Subcommittee chairman Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) alleges Navarro prioritized politics and promoting the lie that the 2020 election was stolen over the COVID-19 response.

Clyburn is alleging Navarro also steered millions of dollars in contracts for pandemic supplies to unprepared or politically connected companies, like Eastman Kodak and Phlow.

The subpoena compels Navarro to produce all documents and information related to his involvement in the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic by December 8, and his appearance at a deposition on December 15.

Clyburn said Navarro, former President Trump’s deputy assistant and trade adviser, has refused to voluntarily comply with repeated requests for documents since the select subcommittee first contacted him on Sept. 14. 

Clyburn said his staff have attempted to communicate with Navarro more than a dozen times, including through phone calls, voicemail messages, emails, and text messages, but they have been rebuffed. 

“Mr. Navarro has demonstrated his unwillingness to voluntarily cooperate with the Select Subcommittee’s investigation. Given his central role in the pandemic response, the importance of the Select Subcommittee’s investigation, and his continued refusal to cooperate voluntarily, this subpoena is necessary,” Clyburn said in a memo.

The Hill has reached out to Navarro for comment. 

According to previously released emails and documents in the committee’s investigation, Navarro sounded an early alarm about the scope of the pandemic and urged Trump to move faster to stay ahead of the virus and secure tests, personal protective equipment and other supplies.

But he was ignored, and Trump continued to publicly downplay the severity of the virus. Committee Democrats allege Navarro then pursued his own ad hoc strategy for procuring key medical supplies, spending more than $1 billion in federal money for noncompetitive contracts with little oversight.

Clyburn said he is also seeking details on Navarro’s compliance with federal records law and Trump officials’ use of personal email accounts. 

Clyburn said the committee suspects Navarro may be withholding “extensive communication” between himself and other White House officials that were sent through a private, encrypted email service.

According to Clyburn, the subcommittee obtained more than 80 messages related to the government’s coronavirus strategy that Navarro sent to other White House staff using a personal ProtonMail account, and he suspects there are more.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 response Donald Trump private email trump white house

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