(Headline USA) The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 uprising at the U.S. Capitol is pushing ahead with contempt charges against former Trump advisers Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino in response to their monthslong refusal to comply with subpoenas.
Navarro, Trump’s trade adviser, and Scavino, a White House communications aide under Trump, have been uncooperative in the congressional probe into the deadly 2021 insurrection, during which none of the actual deaths were caused by any of the peaceful protestors.
The nine-member, grossly partisan panel will meet Monday night to discuss whether to hold the two allies of the Republican former president in contempt of Congress. It is likely to be approved by the Democrat-majority committee, which should come as no surprise because they have sought to indict, charge and otherwise harass just about anyone even remotely associated with Trump.
The recommendation of criminal charges would then go to the full House. Approval there would send the charges to the Justice Department, which has final say on prosecution.
The committee also was expected to request an interview from Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, as part of an effort to force the latter to recuse himself from cases involving the Jan. 6 uprising.
The partisan committee is hoping to extend its work into the 2022 midterm season, when Democrats hope to campaign heavily on it, much as they did in 2018 amid the later disproven Russia collusion hoax.
Despite its plan to maintain a public presence though with regular leaks and smears to undermine Trump and his allies, the committee itself has highlighted the very same corruption that Democrats deployed during the Trump administration, which may well backfire now that they have secured all the levers of power.
Ahead of the committee’s meeting, the panel scored a big legal victory in its quest for information from Trump lawyer John Eastman when a federal judge in California asserted Monday morning that it is “more likely than not” that Trump committed crimes in his attempt to challenge the certification of the disputed 2020 election.
With that argument, or more accurately highly biased opinion, U.S. District Court Judge David Carter, a Clinton appointee, ordered the release of more than 100 emails from Eastman to the committee.
Charles Burnham, an attorney representing Eastman, said in a statement Monday that his client has a responsibility to his attorney-client privilege and his lawsuit against the committee “seeks to fulfill this responsibility.”
Navarro, 72, was subpoenaed for his testimony in early February. The panel alleges that he promoted false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election that contributed to the uprising, even as more evidence is being uncovered that indicates widespread irregularities in that election.
Many of the claims have been independently validated by forensic investigations and testimonials, although leftists have refused to acknowledge the evidence.
“He hasn’t been shy about his role in efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election and has even discussed the former President’s support for those plans,” Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee’s Democratic chairman, said in a statement at the time.
Though Navarro sought to use executive privilege to avoid cooperation, the Biden administration this month denied claims from him and another Trump aide, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, saying an assertion of executive privilege was not justified or in the national interest.
On Thursday, Navarro called the committee vote “an unprecedented partisan assault on executive privilege,” and said, ”The committee knows full well that President Trump has invoked executive privilege and it is not my privilege to waive.”
In a statement Sunday night, Navarro said the committee “should negotiate this matter with President Trump.”
He added, “If he waived the privilege, I will be happy to comply; but I see no effort by the Committee to clarify this matter with President Trump, which is bad faith and bad law.”
In a subpoena issued to Scavino last fall, the committee cited reports that he was with Trump the day before the rally during a discussion about how to persuade members of Congress not to certify the election for Biden and with Trump again the day of Jan. 6 and may have “materials relevant to his videotaping and tweeting” messages that day.
In the recent report, the committee said it also has reason to believe that due to the 46-year-old’s online presence, Scavino may have had advance warning about the potential for violence on Jan. 6.
Scavino and his counsel have received at least half a dozen extensions to comply with the subpoena, according to the committee.
“Despite all these extensions, to date, Mr. Scavino has not produced a single document, nor has he appeared for testimony,” the report stated.
A lawyer for Scavino did not return messages seeking comment.
Lawmakers now plan to reach out to Ginni Thomas in regards to her reported text messages with former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on the day of the rally, according to two people familiar with the investigation who were granted anonymity to discuss the panel’s private deliberations.
But the panel has not decided what their outreach to Thomas, a conservative activist, will look like and whether that will come in the form of a subpoena or a voluntary request to cooperate.
Also later this week, the committee plans to interview former Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, one of the people said.
The committee previously voted to recommend contempt charges against longtime Trump ally Steve Bannon after he defied a congressional subpoena, as well as against Meadows after he ceased cooperating with the panel. The full House then approved both contempt referrals.
Bannon was later indicted by a federal grand jury and is awaiting prosecution by the Justice Department. The Justice Department has not taken any action against Meadows.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press