Jan. 6 Committee Seeks to Talk to Virginia Thomas

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Panel also set to vote on holding two former Trump administration officials, Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino, in criminal contempt

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Justice Thomas was the lone dissent on Jan. 19 when the court rejected Mr. Trump’s emergency request to block the transfer of White House records to the Jan. 6 committee. He provided no explanation for his vote. After the committee received the records, the court declined to hear Mr. Trump’s case on its regular calendar.

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It isn’t known whether Justice Thomas was aware of his wife’s texts, or whether the texts were part of the records released as a result of the Supreme Court’s January order. Mr. Meadows released some materials to the committee voluntarily, including text exchanges related to the Jan. 6 attack.

The Jan. 6 committee is also set to meet Monday night to vote on recommending holding two former Trump administration officials, Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino, in criminal contempt of Congress for defying a congressional subpoena.

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A committee vote holding them in contempt would send the matter to the full House, which is controlled by Democrats. Passage in the House would send the issue to the Justice Department to consider whether to pursue a criminal case. Both Mr. Navarro and Mr. Scavino have cited executive privilege in declining to cooperate with the probe.

The full House has already voted to hold former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress. Mr. Bannon was indicted last year after he refused to respond to a subpoena from the committee; His lawyer had argued that former President Trump had asserted executive privilege over appearance by his former aides.

Mr. Scavino is a former deputy White House chief of staff who was originally asked to sit in October for a deposition. The committee had said reporting indicates that Mr. Scavino was with Mr. Trump as the president considered how to persuade Congress not to certify the election for President Biden.

In a report issued to back up the contempt resolution, the committee said Mr. Scavino also tracked on social media on behalf of Mr. Trump and he frequented sites that “suggested the possibility of violence” on Jan. 6, which the report said indicated that Mr. Scavino may have had advance warning.

Mr. Scavino’s attorney, Stan Brand, questioned Mr. Biden’s decision not to uphold Mr. Trump’s assertion of executive privilege over records and testimony from close aides related to Jan. 6.

“On the one hand, Mr. Scavino has a ‘legal duty’ to invoke executive privilege, having been instructed by former President Trump to do so,” Mr. Brand wrote, in a March 25 letter to Jonathan C. Su, deputy counsel to Mr. Biden. “On the other hand, President Biden has advised no such privilege may be asserted without providing any legal authority supporting the President’s power to do so.”

In its report, the Jan. 6 committee wrote that Mr. Biden “has determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not in the national interest, and therefore is not justified.”

Mr. Navarro, a former trade aid to Mr. Trump, didn’t show up for a deposition earlier this month. In his book “In Trump Time,” he described a strategy under which Republicans would challenge President Biden’s victory in about a half-dozen swing states and has also discussed lining up support for lawmakers to challenge Mr. Biden’s victory on Jan. 6, the day Congress convened to certify the results.

The Jan. 6 committee cites the book in its report, noting that Mr. Navarro “described this plan as the ‘Green Bay Sweep’ and stated that it was designed as the ‘last, best chance to snatch a stolen election from the Democrats’ jaws of deceit.'”

The report also quotes a Daily Beast interview in December 2021, in which Mr. Navarro said that Mr. Trump was “on board with the strategy,” and backers had more than 100 congressmen committed to it.

Mr. Navarro called the committee’s investigation a witch hunt.

“My position remains this is not my Executive Privilege to waive and the Committee should negotiate this matter with President Trump,” Mr. Navarro said Sunday.

In its report, the committee said Mr. Navarro didn’t provide any evidence that Mr. Trump had invoked executive privilege regarding documents in Mr. Navarro’s personal possession or any testimony.

The House established the Jan. 6 committee last year almost entirely along party lines, after Senate Republicans blocked the creation of an independent commission. It is tasked with investigating the events and causes of Jan. 6, when supporters of then-President Trump stormed the Capitol, temporarily halting the certification of Mr. Biden’s Electoral College win. Mr. Trump, who had urged his supporters to march on the Capitol at a rally earlier that day, was impeached by the House for inciting insurrection. The Senate acquired him.

Write to Lindsay Wise at [email protected] and Natalie Andrews at [email protected]


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