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Ex-Trump advisers Peter Navarro, Dan Scavino to face Jan. 6 panel criminal referral

Peter Navarro speaks during a protest at Freedom Plaza in Washington D.C. on Jan. 5, 2021.
Erin Scott
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Peter Navarro speaks during a protest at Freedom Plaza in Washington D.C. on Jan. 5, 2021.

Updated March 24, 2022 at 6:14 PM ET

The Democratic-led House select committee investigating the Capitol attack will vote on Monday to hold two former Trump White House advisers, Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino Jr., in criminal contempt of Congress.

Navarro was the former trade adviser, while Scavino was former deputy chief of staff.

The two had been named in earlier committee subpoenas to testify, with Navarro receiving his subpoena in February and Scavino among the first wave of ex-Trump White House officials to receive demands for his testimony last September.

After he was subpoenaed in February, Navarro had described the panel as "terrorists" and called the probe a "partisan witch hunt."

On Thursday, Navarro called the new effort an "unprecedented partisan assault on executive privilege." He maintained that executive privilege prevents him from cooperating, even as former President Trump has lost related legal rulings tied to such claims.

"It is premature for the committee to pursue criminal charges against an individual of the highest rank within the White House for whom executive privilege undeniably applies," said Navarro, who argued the Supreme Court should address his claims directly.

Scavino, for his part, had already attacked a "false and misleading narrative" after there was a delay to serve his subpoena, but has limited his public comments related to the demands. Scavino and his attorney could not be reached immediately for comment.

With the committee's approval, the move would send the criminal contempt referrals to the full House to take up a vote. If the House also approves the referrals, it would then move onto the Justice Department for potential prosecution.

Monday's meeting, set for 7:30 p.m. ET, would mark the fourth such gathering for the committee.

The panel has previously approved criminal contempt referrals for ex-strategist Steve Bannon, ex-Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark and former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

Both referralsfor Bannon and Meadows were approved by the full House, with the final referral before the House in December for Meadows. But so far, the Justice Department has only pursued prosecution for one of those cases, Bannon, who is now battling related criminal charges.

Already, the committee has issued more than 90 public subpoenas. In all, the panel has interviewed more than 750 witnesses, the vast majority voluntarily, and received about 87,000 records.

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Claudia Grisales is a congressional reporter assigned to NPR's Washington Desk.