Trump tells Navarro to 'protect executive privilege' in House COVID-19 probe

Former President TrumpDonald TrumpFive reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season Giving thanks for Thanksgiving itself Immigration provision in Democrats' reconciliation bill makes no sense MORE said Saturday in a statement that he is telling former aide Peter Navarro to “protect executive privilege” amid a House probe into the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Communist Democrats are engaging in yet another Witch Hunt, this time going after my Administration’s unprecedented and incredible coronavirus response, despite the fact that, sadly, more Americans have died this year from COVID than in all of 2020,” Trump said in a statement shared through his spokeswoman Liz Harrington.

“I’m telling Peter Navarro to protect executive privilege and not let these unhinged Democrats discredit our great accomplishments,” Trump added.

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The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis is conducting an investigation into the Trump administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

When asked about Trump's statement, a spokesperson for the committee told The Hill in a statement that "we expect Mr. Navarro to comply with the Subcommittee’s subpoena."

Earlier this week, the subcommittee issued a subpoena for Navarro, who previously served as Trump's deputy assistant and trade adviser. 

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“Mr. Navarro has refused to voluntarily comply with the Select Subcommittee’s requests — ignoring repeated attempts to gain his voluntarily compliance and otherwise failing to communicate with Select Subcommittee staff,” Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the chairman of the subcommittee, said in a memo this week to the other members. 

Clyburn said that they had tried more than a dozen times to contact Navarro through calls, text messages, voice messages and emails but were not able to reach him.

The subcommittee is interested in hearing from Navarro because Clyburn alleges that the Trump aide awarded contracts for pandemic supplies to politically connected and unprepared companies. He also claims that Navarro spent more time peddling 2020 election falsehoods than he did focusing on the federal government’s pandemic response. 

“This is yet another Democrat witch hunt plain and shallow. I will be delivering a case of my new book In Trump Time to the Committee in thanks for their invitation,” Navarro said in a statement in response to the subpoena. 

Navarro said he was planning to deliver a copy of his recently released book, "In Trump Time: My Journal of America's Plague Year," to the subcommittee, claiming it would show that the "committee is (as usual) barking up the wrong tree."