Jan. 6 Committee Votes to Hold Two Trump Allies in Contempt

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riots voted Monday to hold Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino in contempt of Congress

Peter Navarro, Dan Scavino
Peter Navarro (left), Dan Scavino. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty; Chip Somodevilla/Getty

The bipartisan congressional committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riots is urging the House to hold two senior Trump White House officials in contempt of Congress, after they failed to comply with congressional subpoenas for records and testimony related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

The two former officials — Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino — are Trump loyalists. Navarro, 72, served in the Trump administration as the Assistant to the President, Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, and the national Defense Production Act policy coordinator. Scavino, 46, previously served as the White House Deputy Chief of Staff for communications and as director of social media.

Speaking at a meeting Monday, Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson noted that Scavino and Navarro "aren't household names," but said they "played a key role in the ex-President's efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election."

Thompson added that the men had failed to cooperate after the Select Committee subpoenaed them for records and testimony to learn more about their roles in what led to the riots.

"In Mr. Scavino's case, he strung us along for months before making it clear that he believes he's above the law. Mr. Navarro, despite sharing relevant details on TV and podcasts and in his own book, he also stonewalled us," Thompson said, adding that both are "claiming that the information we want from them is shielded by executive privilege."

Speaking in the same meeting on Monday, Republican Liz Cheney argued that Scavino worked "directly with President Trump to spread President Trump's false message that the election was stolen, and to recruit Americans to come to Washington with the false promise that January 6th would be an opportunity to 'take back their country.' "

Navarro, she said, had "written a book boasting about his role in planning and coordinating the activity of January 6th, and yet, he does not have the courage to testify here."

In a statement sent to media outlets including ABC News, Navarro said the bipartisan committee was engaged in a "witch hunt" predicated on a "ridiculous legal premise." Scavino, meanwhile, posted links to articles on the right-wing website Breitbart, which argued that the contempt charge was based on "false claims."

The full House is expected to vote on the contempt charges later this week.

If the House votes in favor of holding the two men in contempt, it would then refer the matter to the Justice Department, which would determine whether to pursue criminal charges.

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Last November, the Justice Department announced that another Trump ally — Steve Bannon — had been indicted by a federal grand jury on contempt of Congress charges. Like Navarro and Scavino, Bannon had failed to comply with a subpoena issued by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. His trial is set to begin later this year.

In December, the House voted to hold Trump's former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress, also for refusing to testify to investigators. The Justice Department has not yet taken action on that referral.

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