2 Trump Allies Hit By Criminal Contempt Proceedings Via Jan. 6 Committee

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The House committee investigating the Capitol riot is moving forward with criminal contempt proceedings targeting two former top aides in the Trump White House, including Dan Scavino, Jr. and Peter Navarro. Assuming that the committee approves findings of criminal contempt implicating both of these individuals — a matter that the panel is slated to vote on next Monday, the two of them would become the fourth and fifth people to be held in criminal contempt by the riot committee for refusing to cooperate. Others include Steve Bannon, Mark Meadows, and Jeffrey Clark. The first two individuals had contempt findings approved by the full House and referred to the Justice Department, while Clark’s contempt finding wasn’t voted on by the full House, with him ending up pleading the Fifth to committee investigators.

Following approval of these contempt findings by the committee, the next major step is a vote by the full House, where it seems likely that — if they’re voted upon — the findings will pass. Criminal contempt referrals aren’t binding, however, and it would be up to federal prosecutors whether to actually bring charges. Bannon was charged, and his trial is scheduled for July, but prosecutors haven’t charged Meadows. Unlike Bannon, Meadows was on staff at the White House in the time period under investigation by the committee, and he also temporarily cooperated with the panel before ending his cooperation.

Last month, when the riot committee announced its subpoena of Navarro, committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said: “Mr. Navarro appears to have information directly relevant to the Select Committee’s investigation into the causes of the January 6th attack on the Capitol. He hasn’t been shy about his role in efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election and has even discussed the former President’s support for those plans. More than 500 witnesses have provided information in our investigation, and we expect Mr. Navarro to do so as well.” Navarro “reportedly worked with Steve Bannon and others to develop and implement a plan to delay Congress’s certification of, and ultimately change the outcome of, the November 2020 presidential election,” the committee noted in a press release. The panel has stated in a court stand-off with ex-Trump lawyer John Eastman that they believe Trump to potentially be guilty of crimes including obstruction of an official proceeding.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) recently stated that investigators are “looking at things like, do we need additional, enhanced criminal penalties for the kind of supreme dereliction of duty that you saw with President Trump when he refused to tell the mob to go home after he had provoked that attack on the Capitol?” In other words, one question under consideration by the panel is whether criminal penalties should be made law covering the specific sorts of actions that Trump took around the time of the violence at the Capitol.