House Coronavirus Committee Eyeing Contempt Charge Against Trump Adviser Peter Navarro
Former White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro is the latest member of ex-President Donald Trump’s administration to refuse to comply with a subpoena issued by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.
Navarro, who championed the spreading of misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic, maintains that his communications with Trump and other officials are shielded by executive privilege, which despite having been claimed by Trump has faced a losing streak in the courts.
Like Trump, Navarro has called the investigation a “witch hunt.”
On Saturday, Rep. James Clyburn (D-South Carolina), the Committee Chair and third-highest ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, released to the public the letter the Committee sent to Navarro after he had informed lawmakers on December 7 of his intent to defy their demand for his testimony on December 15.
“Your refusal to comply is particularly indefensible given that you disclosed many details about your work in the White House, including details of conversations with the former President about the pandemic response, in your recent book and related press tour. The Select Subcommittee therefore expects you to promptly produce all responsive records and information in your possession and appear for a deposition on December 15, as the subpoena requires,” the letter states.
“Your blanket refusal to comply with the subpoena in its entirety is improper. Courts have clearly held that White House advisers, such as yourself, cannot avoid compelled congressional process. The records and information that you possess are critical to the Select Subcommittee’s investigations,” wrote Clyburn, who pledged to hold Navarro in criminal contempt of Congress.
“Please be advised that if you do not appear for the deposition as scheduled and produce all responsive documents in your possession by December 15, 2021, the Select Subcommittee will interpret your actions as willful noncompliance with the subpoena,” the letter concludes.