House votes to hold Trump aides in contempt of Congress
Brad Reed

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to hold former Trump administration aides Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino Jr. in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas from the panel probing last year's attack on the Capitol.

"These men are trying to tear down American democracy."

As a result of the vote, "they will be referred to the Department of Justice for prosecution," the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol tweeted Wednesday evening.

The 220-203 vote was mostly along party lines, with just two Republicans—Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, the only GOP members of the investigative panel—joining all Democrats present in supporting the move.

Both Cheney and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.)—respectively vice chair and chair of the committee—had taken to the House floor to urge all members of the chamber to vote for the resolution.

"Dan Scavino and Peter Navarro both held positions of public trust," Thompson told his congressional colleagues of the roles each man held under former President Donald Trump—who was impeached a historic second time for inciting the January 6, 2021 attack.

Thompson noted that "Mr. Scavino was a top communications official in the Trump White House. Mr. Navarro was a trade adviser. They each drew salaries paid by the American people, to the tune of over $180,000 per year. They both were to abide by certain rules and obligations. They both swore oaths of allegiance to the Constitution."

"The select committee wants to talk to them, but about a lot more than their White House jobs. We want to talk to them about their roles in trying to overturn the 2020 election. We subpoenaed them for their records and testimony," the chair explained. "They told us to buzz off. Not a single record. No-shows for their deposition."

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.)—a panel member who served as lead manager for Trump's second impeachment trial—also blasted Navarro and Scavino on the House floor Wednesday, accusing them of "acting with open disregard and scorn for the rule of law, Congress, and representatives of the American people."

"Trump led a massive conspiracy to overturn the election and topple American democracy and Trump toadies Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino are part of that crime," Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.Y.) said after the vote. "Anyone who obstructs Congress should be thrown in the slammer. These men are trying to tear down American democracy."

"Also it has now been 113 days since we found chief Trump flunky Mark Meadows in contempt. And for 113 days the Justice [Department] has not acted. The lack of urgency is inexplicable," Pascrell continued, adding that the DOJ "is wasting priceless time to safeguard the rule of law."

In addition to Meadows, the House previously voted to hold former Trump strategist Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. The Justice Department has acted on that move, and Bannon now faces a trial later this year.

However, the DOJ—and Attorney General Merrick Garland specifically—has faced mounting criticism throughout President Joe Biden's tenure for not moving swiftly enough to hold Trump and his allies accountable.

Wednesday's vote came a day after Ivanka Trump, the ex-president's daughter and former adviser, testified to the panel for roughly eight hours—just five days after her husband, Jared Kushner, another former White House adviser, appeared before the committee for over six hours.