The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the United States Capitol has voted to move forward with a measure to hold former Trump advisers Peter Navarro and Daniel Scavino, Jr., in contempt of Congress for refusing to assist with its investigation.

In a unanimous 9-0 vote, the House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol approved a recommendation that the full House of Representatives cite Navarro and Scavino in contempt.

What You Need To Know

  • In a unanimous 9-0 vote, the House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol advanced a measure to hold former Trump advisers Peter Navarro and Daniel Scavino, Jr., in contempt of Congress to the full House of Representatives 

  • Navarro and Scavino have refused to cooperate with the committee despite being subpoenaed to provide documents and testimony regarding their roles in planning the Jan. 6 rally-turned-riot

  • Scavino is said to have worked to spread the false claim that the Nov. 2020 presidential election was stolen; Navarro has boasted about his role in planning the events of Jan. 6

  • Their recommendation now goes to the House of Representatives for referral to the Justice Department for prosecution

For months, Navarro and Scavino have refused to comply with subpoenas for their records and testimony related to former President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the Nov. 2020 election, including repetition of the lie that the election was stolen.

“They’re claiming that the information we want from them is shielded by executive privilege … the power of the president to make sure official’s sensitive information and conversation stay private,” said committee chair Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. “Generally speaking, executive privilege doesn’t belong to just any White House official.”

"They’re not fooling anybody," Rep. Thompson said. "They are obligated to comply with our investigation. They have refused to do so. And that’s a crime."

Scavino, Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said worked to spread the stolen election lie, working with online forums and believers in the wildly credulous QAnon cult. He also is said to have helped plan the Jan. 6 event, and was reported to be in the room as Trump planned to overturn the election.

Navarro, she said, was a key witness who has written a book “boasting about his role in planning and coordinating the activity of Jan. 6, and yet he does not have the courage to testify here.”

Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., noted that, as a result of that book, Navarro and Trump advisor Steve Bannon “came up with a strategy for overturning the election.”

Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., added that Navarro had repeatedly shared his work in the Trump White House with journalists and in his book. “Evidently, Mr. Navarro is only concerned with executive privilege with keeping certain matters confidential when it’s convenient for him,” Murphy said.

The committee has previously voted to recommend contempt charges against Bannon, as well as former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. The House approved both contempt referrals; Bannon has since been indicted by a federal grand jury. The Justice Department has not yet indicated whether it will move forward on the contempt charges for Meadows.

“We are upholding our responsibility,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said in an appeal to Attorney General Merrick Garland,. “The Department of Justice must do the same.”

Though Navarro sought to use executive privilege to avoid cooperation, the Biden administration has denied claims from him, Scavino and 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 attack during a discussion about how to persuade members of Congress not to certify the election for Biden and with Trump again the day of the attack 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.

As the committee enforces its subpoena power, it is also continuing to branch out to others in Trump’s orbit. Lawmakers now plan to reach out to Virginia Thomas — known as Ginni — the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, in regards to her reported text messages with former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on the day of the attack, 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.