Congress to vote on charging Donald Trump's tight-lipped allies with contempt

Congress to vote on charging Donald Trump's tight-lipped allies with contempt
Image via Screengrab.

Peter Navarro, U.S. trade adviser under former President Donald Trump, spent hours on television after the 2020 presidential election advocating for the false claim that the vote was rigged for Joe Biden. He even wrote a book about it.

But what Navarro won't do, without being legally compelled, is testify before the House select committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. He claims that executive privilege precludes him from revealing conversations he had with Trump as they plotted to overturn the election results and keep Trump in the White House.

The House select committee rejects that assertion by Navarro and former Trump aide Dan Scavino and today will vote on whether to hold both men in contempt of Congress for ignoring its subpoenas. A contempt of Congress charge carries a penalty of up to a year in jail and a $100,000 fine. If the committee agrees to send the matter to the full House, the body would then have to vote to refer the charge to the Justice Department.

Navarro and Scavino are among the handful of Trump’s closest confidants who have refused to be interviewed or turn over documents. More than 750 other people — including other top White House officials — have complied with the committee’s requests.

As the New York Times reports, the committee issued a report on Sunday in which it "repeats its argument that executive privilege does not apply, because overturning a legitimate election was not one of Navarro’s official duties in the White House."

Navarro released a statement to The New York Times Sunday night in which he repeated his refusal to comply with the subpoena. “My position remains this is not my executive privilege to waive and the committee should negotiate this matter with President Trump,” he said. “If he waives the privilege, I will be happy to comply.”

President Biden has said the executive privilege claim is invalid because Trump no longer is president and blocking testimony from Navarro and Scavino is “not in the national interest and therefore not justified."

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