It was a necessary step in trying to pry information from two members of former President Donald Trump’s inner circle who were closely aligned with him as he tried to overturn his 2020 election loss.
Navarro served as a trade adviser during the Trump administration, and Scavino served as White House deputy chief of staff. Both men have stonewalled the committee, citing potential “executive privilege” claims made by Trump. But Trump is obviously not the president, has no authority to make those claims and, in fact, hasn’t made those claims in either man’s case.
The committee has every reason to want their testimony. The two were involved in — and likely have damning details about — Trump’s effort to keep himself in power.
As Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, a member of the Jan. 6 committee, explained during the panel's vote, "privilege does not apply to private political business — much less to criminal activity like conducting coups or insurrections against the government."
It can be hard to keep up with the rampant misconduct that occurred under the Trump regime, but Navarro and Scavino are two key figures to know.
Navarro has openly shared details of his and other Trump officials’ plot to prevent certification of the 2020 election results, a plan they termed the “Green Bay Sweep.”
Scavino helped manage Trump’s social media accounts, which were frequent sources of election-related disinformation before Trump was booted off of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter following the Capitol riot. The Jan. 6 committee has accused Scavino of “spreading false information via social media regarding alleged election fraud and recruiting a crowd to Washington for the events of January 6th.”
Just hours before the committee voted in favor of contempt charges against Navarro and Scavino, a judge said it was “obvious” that Trump's scheme to overturn the election was illegal. That ruling ordered right-wing lawyer John Eastman, who helped hatch the plot, to turn over documents sought by the Jan. 6 committee.
Navarro and Scavino should have looked at that ruling with concern. Their justification for withholding information from the committee is no stronger than Eastman’s.