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House Jan. 6 Committee to Consider Holding Two Trump Aides in Contempt

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<p><figcaption class=Photographer: Patrick Semansky/AP

The panel will meet next week after former White House senior advisers Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino declined to appear for testimony.

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill will consider holding two of Donald Trump’s top White House aides, Dan Scavino and Peter Navarro, in criminal contempt of Congress next week, the panel announced. Thursday.

The decision to launch contempt proceedings against the two Trump advisers amounts to a scathing rebuke for their refusal to cooperate with the investigation, as the panel deploys its most punitive measures to reaffirm the consequences of noncompliance.

House investigators said in a notice that they would consider a contempt report against Scavino and Navarro at a business meeting scheduled for next Monday on Capitol Hill after they defied subpoenas forcing them to provide documents and testimony.

Related: Republican says Trump asked him to ‘rescind’ 2020 election and remove Biden from office

The select committee is expected to vote unanimously to send the contempt report to a House vote, according to a source close to the panel, so Trump aides can be referred to the justice department for prosecution.

The select committee took a particular interest in Scavino because, as Trump’s former deputy chief of staff for communications, he was intimately involved in a months-long effort by the Trump White House to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Scavino was also closely involved in the scheme to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to stop Joe Biden’s election victory from being certified at the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, his subpoena, first issued in October of the year, said. past.

The select committee sought information from Navarro as he knew of the scheme to get Pence to return Trump to power, through his contacts with the former president and Trump’s ‘war room’ at the Willard Hotel in Washington that oversaw its implementation.

Navarro was briefed on the scheme, dubbed the “Green Bay Sweep,” by political operatives responsible for the Willard operation that included former Trump strategist Steve Bannon, who was also charged with contempt last year for defiance of a subpoena.

The Guardian reported that Trump discussed ways to prevent Biden’s certification from going ahead with Willard’s war room hours before the attack on Capitol Hill, based on unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud that originated in part by Trump aides. Navarrese.

However, the select committee’s decision to consider contempt reports against the two Trump advisers indicates that neither complied with their subpoena. Contempt reports against him are expected to be made public on Sunday, a source familiar with the matter said.

The panel had tried to negotiate Scavino’s testimony for months, suggesting that House investigators hoped he might be prepared to shed light on the nexus between the Willard operation and the White House in the days before the attack on Capitol Hill.

But the abrupt termination of the talks suggests the select committee now has enough information from more than 750 statements with other witnesses that Scavino’s cooperation is no longer essential and can now refer him for prosecution.

The much shorter timeline between Navarro’s February 9 subpoena and the contempt report may similarly indicate that the panel no longer has a pressing need for his testimony, or that it was worth spending time negotiating to obtain Your opinion.

Navarro completely skipped his deposition, scheduled for March 2, alleging that, as a former White House adviser, he enjoyed immunity from subpoenas from Congress after Trump, as a former president, asserted executive privilege.

A select committee spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Once the select committee adopts a contempt report, it is forwarded to the full House for a vote. If the House approves the report, Congress can send the criminal referral request to the US Attorney for the District of Columbia.

The move to initiate contempt of Congress proceedings against Scavino and Navarro marks the third time the panel has taken such action. Bannon was held in contempt last October, and former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was remanded in December.

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