The House Rules Committee voted on Monday to advance the Jan. 6 Select Committees’s criminal contempt referrals of former Trump White House officials Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino to the full House.
As expected, the Rules committee approved the resolution to hold the former Trump officials in contempt in a 9-4 vote along party lines. The vote comes a week after the Jan. 6 Select Committee unanimously voted to recommend Navarro and Scavino be held in contempt of Congress for defying the panel’s subpoenas.
In his opening remarks during the Rules Committee meeting, Jan. 6 Select Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said it’s “regrettable” because “the situation is so clear-cut” in that it involves people “ignoring the rule of law.”
Thompson argued that the House should adopt the contempt resolution by unanimous consent.
“This distinguished committee shouldn’t have to spend an afternoon debating it,” Thompson said. “The actions of these men are so blatant and brazen that no member of this body should doubt that they are in contempt of Congress.”
Thompson also took aim at executive privilege claims lodged by Trumpworld figures who have also refused to cooperate with the committee’s subpoenas.
“At this point in our investigation, there’s a mounting body of legal rulings rejecting the ex-President’s claim of executive privilege,” Thompson said. “That makes Mr. Scavino’s claim thin to begin with. Mr. Navarro are even thinner, as he has produced no evidence that the former President has even attempted to invoke executive privilege about anything related to his former trade advisor – either directly or indirectly.”
The committee subpoenaed Navarro in February, demanding that the former White House trade adviser provide information about former President Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. While promoting the launch of his new book late last year, Navarro detailed his efforts to push the Big Lie in late 2020 and January 2021.
Among Navarro’s Big Lie efforts was his half-baked plan conceived with former Trump White House chief strategist Steve Bannon to challenge the election results, which they called the “Green Bay Sweep.” The scheme would have involved Trump’s congressional GOP allies forcing four hours of debate in both chambers in order to create a 24-hour GOP propaganda blitz, with the aim of pressuring then-VP Mike Pence to delay certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory by sending the challenged tallies back to the states.
In the end, the “Green Bay Sweep” never came to fruition.
Last September, Scavino, who served as Trump White House deputy chief of staff for communications, was among the first group of former Trump administration officials subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 Select Committee. Prior to the former president’s ban from Twitter in the aftermath of the deadly Capitol insurrection, Scavino was in charge of Trump’s account. Scavino reportedly accompanied Trump the day before the insurrection as Trump tried to sway lawmakers into blocking the certification of Biden’s electoral victory.
Additionally, the Committee noted in its subpoena to Scavino and other Trump cronies that Scavino promoted the “Stop the Steal” rally that occurred hours before the insurrection in a series of tweets from the White House. The panel requested information from Scavino related to Trump’s communications strategy leading up to Jan. 6, Trump’s whereabouts on the day of the insurrection and whether any unused videos and tweets that Trump recorded and drafted on Jan. 6 exist.
Thus far, Bannon is the sole Trumpworld figure who has been charged with contempt of Congress after defying subpoenas by the Committee, following the House vote to hold him in criminal contempt last October. Bannon’s contempt of Congress trial is set for July.
The House also voted last December to refer former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows for criminal prosecution for contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the committee. However, the Justice Department has not pursued charges against Meadows.