House votes to refer 2 former Trump advisers to Justice Department for contempt of Congress

The House vote was 220-203. Only two Republicans, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, voted for the resolution. The couple also serve on the January 6 committee.

“These two men have refused to comply with the Select Committee subpoenas in any way,” Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, who chairs the committee, testified Monday before the House Rules Committee.

Scavino used a series of delaying tactics to prevent any kind of substantive cooperation with his investigation, according to the committee, which argues that he was never substantively involved and thus violated his subpoena. Scavino is one of Trump’s closest and most loyal allies, having served in the administration from start to finish and was one of his earliest campaign employees.

He was intimately involved with Trump’s social media channels, often posting messages to Trump supporters on behalf of the then-president. The committee believes that Scavino is aware of meetings and details of events leading up to January 6, 2021, including strategy sessions that were directly tied to Trump’s attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

The committee has cited news reports of Scavino tracking “TheDonald.win” website, which its report describes as an “online forum frequented by people who openly advocated and planned violence in the weeks leading up to January 6.”

Scavino has still questioned his need to testify, according to a letter from his attorney Stanley Brand to the White House on March 25, which Brand provided to CNN on Sunday.

The letter returned legal questions to the Biden administration, which had determined it would not protect any of Scavino’s testimony.

However, Scavino has argued that the law is yet to decide whether the current president can waive the privilege of all testimony, including Scavino’s conversations with Trump, especially whether Trump can claim secrecy on his own.

The committee accused Navarro, a former White House trade adviser, of making no effort to comply with their subpoena request, alleging that Navarro made it clear he could not cooperate because Trump had asserted executive privilege in the matter.

The committee has argued against Navarro’s use of executive privilege, citing, for example, that many of the issues it wanted to discuss with him he had already written out in great detail in his book.

Navarro said in a statement after Wednesday’s vote: “President Trump has asserted executive privilege, it is not my privilege to resign, and the proper course of action would have been for the Committee to negotiate this matter directly with the President as I directed them to do.” they did”. .”

Navarro has been very public about his attempts to work with the Trump campaign to subvert the 2020 election. In his book, he details a plan called the “Green Bay Sweep,” which involved convincing state leaders in several swing states to question the election results in an attempt to delay and eventually prevent certification.

In an earlier statement to CNN, Navarro responded to the committee’s contempt report filing by saying he believes President Joe Biden does not have the ability to waive executive privilege from Trump in his case. She also claimed that the committee’s investigation is based on a false notion that the 2020 presidential election was “free and fair.”

“My position remains that this is not my Executive Privilege to resign and the Committee should negotiate this matter with President Trump,” Navarro said in a statement. “If you give up the privilege, I’ll be happy to comply; but I don’t see any effort on the part of the Committee to clear up this matter with President Trump, which is bad faith and bad law.”

Cheney, who serves as the committee’s vice chairman, said Tuesday: “There is no standard under the law by which you can simply say ‘I’m not going because someone told me not to,’ even if that person is the former chairman. . from United States.”

Now that the references have left the House, they will be sent to the Justice Department, which will decide if there is enough evidence to prosecute. The committee has advanced three previous criminal references.

The House’s first referral, to former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, was picked up by the Justice Department and led to an indictment against Bannon. He faces a criminal trial this summer.
The Justice Department is still reviewing former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows’ contempt order, which was voted on by the full House in December. Scavino was initially cited at the same time as Bannon and Meadows.
A third contempt reference, for former DOJ staffer Jeffrey Clark, was removed from committee but did not make it to the House floor after Clark agreed to meet with the committee. Clark sat down for an interview, but argued for the Fifth Amendment more than 100 times.

This story and the headline have been updated with additional developments on Wednesday.

CNN’s Paula Reid contributed to this report.

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