Dec 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Ex-Trump aide Peter Navarro defies House subpoena in COVID probe

Stefani Reynolds/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Peter Navarro. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro has refused to comply with a congressional subpoena for documents, citing a "direct order" from former President Donald Trump, according to a letter released Saturday.

Why it matters: This is the first time a witness has refused to comply with a subpoena issued by the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, per the Washington Post, and it could likely result in Navarro being held in contempt of Congress.

  • The panel, which is investigating the Trump administration’s pandemic response, has come under fire by the former president's allies, who have called the probe politically motivated.
  • Navarro's letter said Trump told him to "protect executive privilege and not let these unhinged Democrats discredit our great accomplishments."

What he's saying: "At this time, I am unable to respond to the Subpoena, based on former President Trump's invocation of executive privilege," Navarro wrote to the House panel.

  • This "matter is out of my hands and something that the Sub-Committee should discuss with President Trump’s counsel," he continued.

The other side: "Your blanket refusal to comply with the subpoena in its entirety is improper," Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), the committee chairman, wrote in a letter to Navarro.

  • "It is abundantly clear that you possess information responsive to the subpoena that is not covered by any colorable claims of executive privilege."
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