By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. House of Representatives committee probing the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol said on Thursday it was moving toward holding Peter Navarro, a former trade adviser to ex-President Donald Trump, and Daniel Scavino, who was a Trump deputy chief of staff, in contempt of Congress for not complying with subpoenas.
The Select Committee said it would hold a business meeting on Monday to vote on a report recommending the full House cite them for contempt of Congress and refer them for federal prosecution.
Trump has urged associates not to cooperate with the committee, calling the Democratic-led investigation politically motivated and arguing that his communications are protected by executive privilege, although many legal experts have said that legal principle does not apply to former presidents.
The committee announced on Feb. 9 that it had subpoenaed Navarro, a key player in Trump’s effort to overturn his defeat by Democratic President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.
Biden’s administration said in a letter on Feb. 28 that it was denying executive privilege to Navarro, saying it was not in the national interest.
Navarro has said in media interviews and in his book that he helped coordinate an effort – “the Green Bay Sweep” – to halt certification of Biden’s victory and keep Trump in power.
Scavino was subpoenaed in September. The committee said he was a witness to Trump’s activities on the day of the assault of the seat of U.S. government by thousands of the defeated president’s supporters.
Neither man could be reached for comment.
If the Jan. 6 Select Committee approves the contempt of Congress report, the matter would be referred to a vote in the full Democratic-controlled House.
The House has already approved criminal referrals for two others who defied the Jan. 6 panel’s subpoenas – Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, and Mark Meadows, a former House member who was one of Trump’s White House chiefs of staff.
Bannon faces federal charges for refusing to cooperate with the committee and declining to produce documents.
The House voted on Meadows in December, but the Justice Department has not yet announced whether it will take action.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle in Washington Editing by Leslie Adler and Matthew Lewis)