Navarro won't talk to Jan. 6 probe — but another Trump White House official will
Demanding to hear more about efforts to overturn the 2020 election from Peter Navarro, ex-President Donald Trump’s onetime trade adviser, the Jan. 6 committee has now hit the former Trump White House lackey with a subpoena.
Keeping the demand short and sweet, U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the United States Capitol Chairman Bennie Thompson sent the notice to Navarro on Wednesday. The Mississippi Democrat highlighted that the probe’s request for his records and testimony was raised in light of admissions he himself has made in his memoir, In Trump Time.
Navarro’s history of sharing election fraud disinformation as that delay strategy unfolded in the runup to Jan. 6 was also cited.
According to Navarro himself, he spent “a lot of time lining up over 100 congressmen, including some senators” to object to or delay the certification of Joe Biden’s win.
Navarro has previously and publicly disclosed that he and Steve Bannon met to discuss a delay strategy together, yet Navarro simultaneously insists he wasn’t gaming out a way to overturn the results. Rather, he and Bannon just wanted to trigger what would ultimately become a spectacle-ridden delay of the joint certification session at the Capitol. The plan was to allow the president’s grievances about so-called election fraud to be aired for an indeterminate period of time despite that fact that at this point, federal courts had overwhelmingly ruled against Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud.
“To pull off an operation Bannon has dubbed the Green Bay Sweep,” Navarro wrote in his book, “and thereby keep President Trump in the White House for a second term, we must have only peace and calm.”
Part of that “peace and calm” however, was also premised on the false notion that then-Vice President Mike Pence had the constitutional authority to stop Biden’s certification on Jan. 6.
Pence did not have this authority, and he acknowledged he did not, albeit right up to the wire on Jan. 6. Testimony and documents already obtained by the Jan. 6 committee have revealed that pressure was high for Pence to go along with Trump’s subversion scheme.
“I tried repeatedly to get to Pence and I couldn’t do it. I was locked out,” Navarro said in an interview with The New York Times.
In Navarro’s notice, Thompson also pointed out a report that the trade adviser authored on so-called election fraud. Its volumes feature titles such as “The Immaculate Deception, “The Art of the Steal,” and, “Yes, President Trump Won.”
“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,” Thompson wrote to Navarro on Wednesday.
Navarro now says he will not comply and told CBS News that the Jan. 6 committee comprises “domestic terrorists.” He slammed the panel with one of Trump’s old favorites, dubbing it a “partisan witch hunt,” and qualified his refusal on the grounds of executive privilege.
The committee must “negotiate any waiver of the privilege with the president and his attorneys directly, not through me,” Navarro told CBS.
Navarro’s furor in the press also included a few jabs at Pence and the former vice president’s staffers.
“Pence betrayed Trump. Marc Short is a Koch Network dog. Meadows is a fool and a coward. Cheney and Kinzinger are useful idiots for Nancy Pelosi and the woke Left,” Navarro bristled in an email to the Times.
The committee has given Navarro until Feb. 23 to respond. The former Trump White House official is tempting a contempt of Congress scenario similar to that of former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
As Navarro receives his notice, the committee’s rolling interviews and record collection continues, with the latest person to sit for deposition being Sarah Matthews, a former White House deputy press secretary who voluntarily stepped down after the Capitol attack.
Matthews currently serves as a communications director for House Republicans on a House select climate committee. According to ABC,she sat for the interview with Jan. 6 investigators voluntarily this week.
Matthews was one of several Trump White House aides to resign after Jan. 6. She also cited her concerns with Trump’s conduct that day.
When Matthews stepped down, she said publicly that she was “honored to serve in the Trump administration” and was “proud of the policies we enacted,” but she added that she was “deeply disturbed” by what she saw that day.
“I’ll be stepping down from my role, effective immediately. Our nation needs a peaceful transfer of power.”
In a Twitter thread last month, Matthews was more cutting. She wrote on Twitter: “Make no mistake, the events on the 6th were a coup attempt, a term we’d used had they happened in any other country, and former President Trump failed to meet the moment.”
She continued: “While it might be easier to ignore or whitewash the events of that day for political expediency—if we’re going to be morally consistent—we need to acknowledge these hard truths.”
Over 500 interviews have now been conducted by the Jan. 6 committee. With Matthews this week and former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s appearance last week, investigators are expected to keep up the pace. There are plans underway this week to meet with several other Trump White House officials.
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