The United States House of Representatives has voted to hold two former aides to former President Donald Trump in criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with the demands of a committee investigating the January 6, 2021 riots at the U.S. Capitol. United States.
The House voted 220-203 Wednesday night to send criminal references against Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino to the US Department of Justice, which will decide whether or not to prosecute them.
Any prosecution could drag on for months or years, but a conviction could carry a fine of up to $100,000 and a year in prison.
“These two witnesses have acted with contempt for Congress and the American people,” said US Representative Jamie Raskin, a member of the Jan. 6 committee, which interviewed hundreds of witnesses over the course of its nine-month investigation.
Navarro, 72, a former White House international trade adviser, was subpoenaed in early February for his promotion of false claims that the 2020 election was marred by voter fraud, which the committee believes contributed to the unrest on Capitol Hill.
Scavino, 46, a senior communications assistant, was with Trump on the day of the Jan. 6 attack and may have “materials relevant to his videotaped and tweeted messages” that day, the committee said.
A mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in Washington, DC, in January of last year in an attempt to prevent Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral victory. Shortly before the riots, Trump delivered an incendiary speech in which he urged his backers to “stop the robbery”.
The House committee subpoenaed several former Trump advisers and Trump administration officials in an effort to understand what happened in the days leading up to Jan. 6 and prevent a similar event from happening again. But some have refused to comply.
Meanwhile, many Republican lawmakers have denounced the panel’s work. Only two Republicans joined Democrats in voting for Wednesday’s motion against Navarro and Scavino.
Before the vote, Rep. Guy Reschenthaler questioned the legitimacy of the investigation, deriding the Democrat-led House action as “political theater,” while House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy accused the committee of “criminalizing dissent”.
In its subpoena for Scavino last September, 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 Biden’s choice.
The House previously voted to retain the former White House chief of staff mark meadows and Trump political adviser Steve Bannon in contempt for his refusal to answer questions before the January 6 committee.
The contempt referral against Bannon quickly resulted in a criminal charge by the Justice Department, with a trial scheduled to begin in July. But the department has taken longer to decide whether to prosecute Meadows, much to the committee’s frustration.
“It is the committee’s hope that he will be brought before a grand jury,” Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee’s chairman, told reporters Tuesday.
Lawmakers have been interviewing dozens of people as public hearings scheduled to begin later this month approach.
In recent days, the committee has conducted lengthy interviews with Trump’s daughter. ivanka trump and her husband, Jared Kushner. Both were key White House advisers who had substantial access to the former president.
One person the committee has not yet approached for testimony is former Vice President Mike Pence. Thompson said investigators may not need to speak to him directly.
Close aides to Pence have already testified before the panel, including his chief of staff, Marc Short, who was on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 and accompanied Pence when he fled his post as Senate president.
In the days leading up to the attack on Capitol Hill, Trump had publicly and privately pressured Pence to reject Biden’s election victory as part of his ceremonial role of overseeing the congressional vote count, but Pence rebuffed him, saying he had no constitutional power. to change the Exit.
The rioters who stormed the Capitol were outraged by Pence’s decision and some called for him to be hanged while they breached the building.