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House refers former Trump aides Peter Navarro, Dan Scavino for contempt of Congress charges

Scavino and Navarro have both defied subpoenas from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.

WASHINGTON (CN) — The House voted Wednesday to recommend the Department of Justice hold former Trump advisers Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino in contempt of Congress over their monthslong refusals to comply with subpoenas from the committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The House voted 220-203 in favor of criminal referrals, marking the third time the chamber has recommended that the Department of Justice prosecute individuals for defying subpoenas from the Jan. 6 committee, though doing so is up to the department itself. Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and close Trump ally Steve Bannon received criminal referrals from the House late last year, with only Bannon currently facing criminal charges.

Scavino, a former Trump communications aide, and Navarro, Trump’s former trade adviser, were previously called on by the panel to testify and turn over documents to aid in the House select committee's investigation, but the committee says both men defied their requests for information.

Navarro was subpoenaed by the panel in early February over his role in developing and promoting a plan to contest results of the 2020 election in swing states won by now-President Joe Biden as a way to delay Congress' certification of the election.

In his book "In Trump Time," Navarro detailed his time in the White House and the strategy to allege voter fraud in the 2020 election, which he described as the, "“last, best chance to snatch a stolen election from the Democrats’ jaws of deceit,” per the committee.

Scavino, one of the longest serving Trump aides, was with the then-president on Jan. 6 and regularly monitored social media on behalf of Trump. The committee has said Scavino, "may have had advance warning of the possibility of violence on January 6th.”

The panel extended the deadline for Scavino to comply with a subpoena six separate times but he never turned over any information to the committee, according to a report released by the panel.

"Mr. Scavino worked directly with President Trump to spread President Trump's false message that the election was stolen," Representative Liz Cheney, one of two Republicans on the committee, said on the House floor. "This effort to deceive was wildly effective and wildly destructive."

Navarro has claimed that he is exempt from testifying due to Trump’s assertions of executive privilege, a protection that exempts some information from public disclosure to allow the president to openly consult members of his staff.

"If he waived the privilege, I will be happy to comply; but I see no effort by the Committee to clarify this matter with President Trump, which is bad faith and bad law,” Navarro said in a statement to the Associated Press last month.

However, Biden has waived any claims of executive privilege that would exempt Navarro or Scavino from aiding with the committee's investigation of Jan. 6.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court rejected an attempt by Trump to keep White House documents away from the committee and its investigation.

The committee has conducted interviews with more than 800 witnesses over the course of its investigation, including a sit-down interview with Ivanka Trump earlier this week.

"The president's own daughter complied with the wishes of the committee," Representative Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi and chair of the Jan. 6 committee, said on the House floor. "And I would think that if his daughter complied with the wishes of the committee, everyone else should— even the people who work for him."

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Categories / Government, Politics

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