The House Rules Committee on Monday voted to file the contempt motion against two former advisers to President Trump who failed to comply with subpoenas from the House Select Committee to investigate the case. The motion will now go to the full House of Representatives for a vote.
Last week, the House Special Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol voted unanimously to refer the contempt charges to Congressfor refusing to comply with subpoenas to appear before the committee.
The Rules Committee voted along party lines, nine Democrats to four Republicans, that the entire House could vote on whether to refer the contempt charges to the Justice Department. It will likely pass the Democrat-controlled House as the other two vote with contemptand have.
The Ministry of Justicewith two counts of contempt to which he has pleaded not guilty. The Justice Department has yet to file charges against Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff. Contempt of Congress is punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
“I believe there must be an accountability for what happened or it will happen again. No one is above the law,” said Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern, the committee’s chairman. “This is not a step we take lightly, but it is unfortunately a step that Mr. Navarro and Mr. Scavino forced us to take in order to find the truth.”
During Monday’s hearing, Democrats reiterated the scope of Scavino and Navarro’s work for Trump around the election and reiterated why they wanted to interview them. In a Jan. 6 report, the Jan. 6 committee accused Navarro, a former trade adviser to Trump, of working with “Bannon and others to develop and implement a plan to delay congressional certification and ultimately that.” change the outcome of the November 2020 presidential election. “
Scavino was Trump’s social media director and deputy chief of staff. The Jan. 6 committee said they had “reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Scavino was with then-President Trump on Jan. 5 and 6 and was involved in talks regarding plans to challenge, disrupt, or disrupt official Congressional procedures impede”.
Both Scavino and Navarro have said they cannot appear because Trump has invoked executive privilege, but President Biden has denied the executive privilege claims.
Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, the top Republican on the Rules Committee, said Monday that Scavino and Navarro had “expressed legitimate concerns about the scope of the subpoenas issued to them and legitimate concerns about executive branch privileges.”
“Those concerns need to be decided by the courts, not the House of Representatives,” he said.
While the committee’s resolution denies that any person has a reason to assert privilege, Bennie Thompson, chairman of the Jan. 6 committee, said they cannot make that argument without coming before the committee.
“If you want protection of any of those privileges, you have to come up and explain why,” he said.
Rep. Liz Cheney, one of only two Republicans on the Jan. 6 committee, commended Republicans from the state governments, the Justice Department and the former administration who testified before the committee. Cheney said Navarro “doesn’t have the guts to testify here” and warned her current colleagues against trying to “whitewash” the events of January 6, 2021.
“Think of what would have happened if the men and women in uniform who defend all of us in the Capitol Police, the Metropolitan Police Department, hadn’t done their job,” she said. “We would have had thousands of angry, violent rioters in this capital; we would have had a much worse constitutional crisis. So don’t think you can sugarcoat this, and don’t think you can preserve your character and your honor and your duty.”
Democrats also mentioned a judgethat suggested it was “more likely than not” that Trump had committed multiple federal crimes.
Republican Rep. Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota testified in the couple’s defense, arguing that they had the right to contest the subpoenas and that Scavino’s attorney unsuccessfully tried to question the committee about the scope of the subpoena.
“The question before us today is not whether you agree with Mr Scavino’s position. The question is whether you recognize Mr. Scavino’s right to contest the subpoena,” he said.