Jan. 6 panel seeking contempt for Scavino, Navarro
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol will seek contempt charges against two former Trump officials who have failed to comply with subpoenas from the panel.
Dan Scavino, President Trump’s deputy chief of staff for communications, was among the first four people to be subpoenaed by the committee last year, though they faced delays in officially serving him.
Peter Navarro, a former trade adviser to Trump, was subpoenaed last month after passages from his own book appeared to show he was involved in plans to delay certification of the presidential election.
The committee will meet Monday to vote on whether to hold the two men in contempt of Congress, a move that would forward the matter to the full House for a vote.
Should the full House vote to censure the men, the matter could then be taken up by the Justice Department, where each count risks up to a year of jail time as well as $100,000 in fines.
The department has already taken one such suggestion from Congress, pursuing charges against one-time White House strategist Steve Bannon, who will face trial this June.
It has not yet acted on a similar vote on Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, who was censured by the House in December.
Like the other two men, Scavino was subpoenaed by the committee last September, with the panel pointing to reporting suggesting he was with Trump on Jan. 5 as they weighed how to convince lawmakers to vote against certifying President Biden’s electoral victory. He also promoted the Jan. 6 rally and may have had outtakes of recordings of the video Trump sent to supporters later that day encouraging them to go home.
But Scavino wasn’t formally served until October, when he agreed to allow a staff member at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort to accept it on his behalf.
Still, the delay in serving Scavino accounts for just a fraction of the six month delay in complying with the subpoena.
Navarro was subpoenaed after writing of his involvement in a book released last fall, as well as in a three-part series on his website, dubbed the Navarro Report.
“You, then a White House trade advisor, reportedly worked with Steve Bannon and others to develop and implement a plan to delay Congress’s certification of, and ultimately change the outcome of, the November 2020 election,” the committee wrote in its subpoena.
“In your book you reportedly described this plan as the ‘Green Bay Sweep’ and stated that it was designed as ‘the last best chance to snatch a stolen election from the Democrats’ jaws of deceit.’”
The committee also took a not-so-subtle dig at Navarro’s media tour to promote his book, in which he further elaborated on his role.
“Because you have already discussed these and other relevant issues in your recently published book, in interviews with reporters, and, among other places, on a podcast, we look forward to discussing them with you, too,” the panel wrote in February.
A representative for Scavino did not respond to request for comment.
In a statement to The Hill Navarro said the committee’s decision is an affront to Trump’s executive privilege claims. Biden, however, earlier this month rejected any executive privilege claims for Navarro. Courts have also largely rejected Trump’s claims of privilege, ruling it instead rests with Biden as the current executive.
“If President Trump waives the privilege, I would be happy to testify. It is premature for the committee to pursue criminal charges against an individual of the highest rank within the White House for whom executive privilege undeniably applies,” Navarro wrote.
“Until this matter has been settled at the Supreme Court, where it is inevitably headed, the Committee should cease its tactics of harassment and intimidation. I would be happy to cooperate with the committee in expediting a review of this matter by the Supreme Court and look forward to arguing the case.”
The committee will release a report Sunday evening outlining their case against both men.
Update at 6:18 p.m.
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