DOJ: We Won't Be Prosecuting Meadows, Scavino

Justice Department declines contempt charges for Trump's former chief of staff, social media director
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2022 7:45 AM CDT
Meadows, Scavino Escape Contempt Charges From DOJ
Then-White House social media director Dan Scavino, right, and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on Sept. 22, 2020, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

(Newser) – On Friday, former Trump aide Peter Navarro was indicted on contempt charges for refusing to answer subpoenas by a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. Later that day, two others in Trump's circle avoided the same fate—two much more central figures regarding the former president. Politico reports that the Justice Department won't be prosecuting Mark Meadows, who served as Trump's chief of staff in the White House, and Dan Scavino, Trump's social media director. "Based on the individual facts and circumstances of their alleged contempt, my office will not be initiating prosecutions for criminal contempt as requested in the referral against ... Meadows and Scavino," US Attorney Matthew Graves noted in his letter on the matter, per the Guardian.

Both Meadows and Scavino had negotiated for months with the House panel on their possible testimony and what info executive privilege might shield, and Meadows had provided thousands of text messages and other communications to the select committee. Those negotiations ultimately fell apart, however, and the panel recommended contempt charges for the pair. Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, the head of the Jan. 6 panel, and GOP Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair, in a statement Friday evening called Navarro's indictment the "correct decision," but the call not to indict Meadows and Scavino a "puzzling" one, per ABC News.

"Mr. Meadows and Mr. Scavino unquestionably have relevant knowledge about President Trump's role in the efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the events of January 6th," the two note in their statement. "We hope the Department provides greater clarity on this matter." They add: "No one is above the law." The Guardian notes the decision "marks the denouement for five months of speculation" over what the fate of Meadows and Scavino would be. One other Trump ally has been charged by the DOJ for contempt: Steve Bannon, once Trump's chief strategist in the White House. (Read more Mark Meadows stories.)

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