Jan. 6 committee recommends former Trump aides Navarro and Scavino be charged with contempt

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol on Monday proposed a move to sack former Trump aides Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino to the Justice Department for criminal contempt. in Congress.

The committee voted 9-0 to send the recommendation to the House. The panel is made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans, who participate without the approval of the GOP leadership.

The panel’s vote clears the way for a House vote on whether the couple should be referred to the Justice Department for a misdemeanor that carries up to a year in prison and fines of up to $100,000.

Navarro, a trade adviser in the Trump administration, and Scavino, who served as deputy White House chief of staff, defied committee subpoenas demanding they testify and turn over documents relevant to the attack on the last year that disrupted the 2020 electoral vote count during a joint session of Congress.

According to a report released by the committee on Sunday, Navarro and Scavino cited “executive privilege” as a reason for not cooperating with the panel, arguing that only former President Donald Trump can waive that privilege even if President Joe Biden l ‘has already done.

the Committee said former aides “played a key role in the ex-president’s efforts to annul the 2020 election.”

Specifically, the panel said Navarro had publicly bragged about his intention to alter the 2020 election results, and even published a book last year in which he called the plan a “Green Bay sweep.” “Last and best chance to snatch a stolen election from the Democrats’ deceitful jaws”.

Detailing the plan, Navarro said the goal was to have Capitol Hill member lawmakers debate the six-way election results, in hopes that Congress would declare the results contested. This would clear the way for the House to select the president based on each congressional delegation getting a vote. Since Republicans controlled more state delegations than Democrats, Navarro’s plan assumed that Trump would receive a second term.

President Trump meets with leaders of supply chain distributors
Peter Navarro, right, listens to then-President Donald Trump speak during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, March 29, 2020.Pete Marovich/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images File

Navarro said Trump “agreed with the strategy,” with more than 100 members of Congress, according to the committee’s report.

Navarro did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Scavino, who ran Trump’s social media, was one of the first people subpoenaed by the committee last year. The panel said Scavino “worked with President Trump as part of the then President’s campaign to reverse the election results. This campaign included, among other things, spreading false information via social media regarding alleged electoral fraud and the recruitment of a crowd in Washington for the events of January 6.”

The former deputy chief of staff also reportedly “attended several meetings with the president where challenges to the election were discussed. Mr. Scavino also tracked social media on behalf of President Trump, and he did so at a time when sites were reportedly frequented by Mr. Scavino suggested the possibility of violence on January 6,” the committee report said.

The panel added that Scavino also worked for Trump’s presidential campaign and “continued to do so after the 2020 election, promoting activities designed to reverse the outcome of a lost election.”

“Mr. 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 6 would be the opportunity to ‘take back their country,'” committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said Monday shortly before the vote. “The Committee has many questions for Mr. Scavino about his political social media work for President Trump, including his interactions with an online forum called ‘The Donald’ and with Qanon, a bizarre and dangerous cult.”

Scavino’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The House has already voted on criminal remands for two other officials who defied panel subpoenas – former Trump adviser Steve Bannon and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

The Department of Justice acted on the Bannon recommendation, which it does not always do. Bannon was charged with two counts of contempt. He has pleaded not guilty and is due to stand trial in July.

The Department of Justice did not act on the reference against Meadows, which the House adopted in December.

Monday night’s committee vote came just hours after a California federal judge found in a civil case involving the emails of Trump’s allied attorney John Eastman “that it is more likely than not that President Trump and Dr. Eastman dishonestly conspired to obstruct the joint session of Congress. on January 6, 2021,” and ordered Eastman to deliver 101 emails to the House panel.

Following Monday’s vote, the committee was due to hold a closed meeting to discuss whether members should seek to question Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, about text messages between her and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in which she urged him to push Trump to fight the election results.

Two sources told NBC on Monday that the committee is leaning towards bringing in Ginni Thomas for an interview, but will discuss the matter in detail during Monday night’s closed session.

Later this week, the panel is scheduled to interview former senior Trump adviser Jared Kushner, the former president’s son-in-law, three sources confirmed to NBC News.

Kushner’s scheduled appearance on Thursday was first reported by ABC News.

Jonathan Allen, Leigh Ann Caldwell, Haley Talbot and Zoe Richards contributed.