• Sun. Jan 29th, 2023


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House January 6 committee report recommends Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino be held in contempt of Congress – CBS News

The House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol will recommend former Trump aides Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino be held in contempt of Congress for failing to cooperate with subpoenas. 

The committee released the 34-page report recommending the contempt charges on Sunday night, ahead of their planned meeting Monday, where they will vote on sending it to the full House.

The committee, which is comprised of six Democrats and two Republicans who both support investigating former President Donald Trump’s role in the attack, will likely approve holding Navarro and Scavino in contempt.

If cleared by the committee, the recommendation then moves to the full, Democratic-controlled House, which would then vote on whether to turn the matter over to the Justice Department.

In a statement last week, Navarro called the contempt vote “an unprecedented partisan assault on executive privilege.” Navarro, along with other Trump allies who have been subpoenaed, have said they cannot overrule Trump invoking executive privilege. President Biden, meanwhile, has rejected the claims of executive privilege

Dan Scavino and Peter Navarro AP/Andrew Harnik, AP/Alex Brandon

Scavino, who the committee noted had dual roles as a White House official and a key promoter of Trump’s stolen election theory on social media, was first subpoenaed in September to provide documents to the committee and sit for depositions, along with former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon and Pentagon chief of staff Kashyap Patel. Sunday night’s report said Scavino was first issued a subpoena at Mar-a-Lago, but the committee had to issue a second subpoena in October after the first one was challenged. 

The committee is seeking information from Scavino because, according to Sunday’s report, he was “reportedly present for meetings in November 2020 where then-President Trump consulted with outside advisors about ways to challenge the results of the 2020 election” and because they have “reason to believe that Mr. Scavino was with then-President Trump on January 5 and January 6 and was party to conversations regarding plans to challenge, disrupt, or impede the official congressional proceedings.” 

The committee said Trump and Scavino spoke multiple times by phone on January 6 and alleged that Scavino might have had advance warning of the violence because he monitored websites where the assault was discussed. The report detailed Scavino’s activities on The_Donald subreddit and TheDonald.win. 

In rejecting Scavino’s claims of executive privilege, Mr. Biden said it “does not extend to discussions relating to non-governmental business or among private citizens.”

The committee also rejected Navarro’s claim of executive privilege, writing in the report that “the Select Committee does not seek documents or testimony from Mr. Navarro related to his official duties as a Federal official. None of the official responsibilities of Mr. Navarro’s positions included advising President Trump about the 2020 Presidential election or the roles and responsibilities of Congress and the Vice President during the January 6, 2021, joint session of Congress.”

The committee in February issued a subpoena to Navarro, who served as a trade adviser to Trump, alleging he developed plans to change the outcome of the election. Rather than reply to the subpoena, the report said Navarro, “predicted that his interactions with the Select Committee would be judged by the ‘Supreme Court, where this case is headed.'”

According to Sunday’s report, Navarro worked with “Bannon and others to develop and implement a plan to delay Congress’ certification and ultimately change the outcome of the November 2020 Presidential election.”

The report also said that Navarro detailed in his November 2021 book “In Trump Time” this plan, called the “Green Bay Sweep.” Navarro called this “the last, best chance to snatch a stolen election from Democrats’ jaws of deceit.” In a later interview about the book, Navarro said Trump was “on board with the strategy.” 

The January 6 Select Committee has already formally recommended the U.S. House formally refer Bannon and Meadows for contempt of Congress prosecution. The House, by a majority vote that included nine Republicans, voted in favor of the referral.  

Weeks later, the Justice Department charged Bannon, who turned himself in to authorities and pleaded not guilty.  He is scheduled for trial in late July in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.  His defense attorney told CBS News the defense expects to file a motion to dismiss the charge on April 8. 

The Justice Department has not commented on the nature or results of its review of possible criminal charges against Meadows.   The U.S. House, with a majority vote that included only two Republicans, approved the referral of Meadows for possible charges in mid-December.  Three months later, no case has yet been filed.  

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of the two Republicans on the committee, told “Face the Nation” on Sunday morning that he is “not confident that Meadows has handed over everything at all.”

“He was cooperating with us for a little bit, and then, in an attempt to make Donald Trump happy, he stops cooperating,” Kinzinger said. “We gave him plenty of space to come back and resume that. He has not.”

Last week, CBS News chief election and campaign correspondent Robert Costa and Bob Woodward of The Washington Post obtained texts between Meadows and Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, that the House January 6 committee also possesses. In the texts, Ginni Thomas pushed Meadows to overturn the 2020 election. 

Ellis Kim and Zak Hudak contributed to this report.