It's not exactly a secret that Donald Trump and key members of his team are refusing to cooperate with the bipartisan investigation into the Jan. 6 attack. Generating less attention is their lack of cooperation with the House select panel investigating the Covid-19 crisis and the government's response to the pandemic.
The New York Times reported over the weekend:
Peter Navarro, who served as trade adviser to former President Donald J. Trump and who fought with government scientists while helping to orchestrate the administration's coronavirus response, is refusing to respond to a congressional subpoena for documents, telling lawmakers he is following a "direct order" from Mr. Trump not to comply.
Of course, the former president is a private citizen. The idea that he can give a "direct order" to another private citizen to defy a lawful subpoena is highly dubious.
It's probably why House Democrats ignored Navarro's declaration and encouraged him to show up on Wednesday for a deposition before the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn told the former trade advisor on Saturday that his refusal to comply with a subpoena is "improper," adding, "It is abundantly clear that you possess information responsive to the subpoena that is not covered by any colorable claims of executive privilege."
For those who may need a reminder as to who Navarro is, Vanity Fair reported a few years ago that in 2016, then-candidate Trump directed Jared Kushner to help bolster his views on China. His son-in-law went to Amazon.com, where he was struck by the title of one book, 'Death by China,' which Navarro co-authored. Kushner cold-called Navarro, a well-known trade-deficit hawk, who joined the team as an economic adviser.
In the years that followed, Navarro became a strange political voice on the Republican's White House team, and in early 2020, for reasons that went unexplained, Trump tapped Navarro to serve on the White House Coronavirus Taskforce — where he earned a reputation for picking strange fights in the Situation Room over hydroxychloroquine.
It stands to reason that a congressional panel investigating the federal response to the pandemic would have a few questions for Navarro. He and his former employer, however — the one who insists he has "nothing to hide" — prefer secrecy.
It's not yet clear what will happen next, but the Times' report added, "The demand sets up a clash that could result in a move by House Democrats to hold Mr. Navarro in contempt of Congress, if he fails to appear." We should know more in about 48 hours.