Congress Holds Scavino, Navarro in Contempt

Justice Department will decide whether to prosecute
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 7, 2022 12:06 AM CDT
Scavino, Navarro Held in Contempt of Congress
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., talks to reporters as the House voted to hold former President Donald Trump advisers Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino in contempt of Congress.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Former Trump advisers Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino were held in contempt of Congress for their monthlong refusal to comply with subpoenas rendered by the House committee’s investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol, the AP reports. The two men on Wednesday became the latest members of former President Trump's inner circle to face legal jeopardy as the select committee continues its more than nine-month-long probe into the worst attack on the Capitol in more than 200 years. The near-party-line 220-203 vote will send the criminal referrals for Navarro and Scavino to the Justice Department for possible prosecution.

The contempt action followed hours of raw debate on the House floor as Republicans stood by Trump and charged that Democrats were trying to politicize the attack on the Capitol by his supporters. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy accused the Jan. 6 committee of “criminalizing dissent,” defended Scavino as a “good man,” and lobbed harsh criticism at members of the committee, some by name. “Let’s be honest, this is a political show trial,” McCarthy said. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, who sit on the select committee, were the only Republicans who voted in favor of the contempt charges. A conviction for contempt of Congress carries a fine of up to $100,000 and up to a year in prison.

While pursuing contempt charges may not yield any new information for the Jan. 6 committee—any prosecutions could drag for months or years—the vote Wednesday was the latest attempt to show that witnesses will suffer consequences if they don’t cooperate or at least appear for questioning. It was the third time the panel has sent contempt charges to the House floor. The first two referrals, sent late last year, were for former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former Trump ally Steve Bannon, who was indicted and will go on trial in July. The Justice Department has been slower to decide whether to prosecute Meadows. Thompson suggested more witnesses could still be held in contempt in the weeks ahead even as the committee looks to wrap up the investigative portion of its work in the next two months.

(Read more Capitol attack stories.)

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