Jan. 6 committee questions "puzzling" DOJ decision on top Trump aides
The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 riot questioned the Justice Department's "puzzling" decision to not indict former President Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows or Dan Scavino, Trump's deputy chief of staff, for contempt of Congress.
Why it matters: The DOJ informed the Jan. 6 committee Friday it would not charge Meadows or Scavino, the same day the department indicted former Trump aide Peter Navarro on two counts of contempt of Congress after he refused to comply with subpoenas from the committee.
- Meadows and Scavino — who were involved in efforts to overturn the 2020 election — also refused to comply with subpoenas issued by the select committee, though Meadows initially cooperated by turning over thousands of documents.
- Meadows, Navarro and Scavino had been held in contempt of Congress by the House. So, too, was former Trump strategist Steve Bannon, who was indicted by a federal grand jury in November 2021.
What they're saying: The Jan. 6 select committee praised the Justice Department's indictment of Navarro but questioned why Meadows and Scavino were being spared from charges.
- "While today’s indictment of Peter Navarro was the correct decision by the Justice Department, we find the decision to reward Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino for their continued attack on the rule of law puzzling," the select committee said on Twitter on Friday.
- "Mr. Meadows and Mr. Scavino unquestionably have relevant knowledge about President Trump’s role in the efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the events of January 6th. We hope the Justice Department provides greater clarity on this matter," it added.
- "As the Select Committee has argued in District Court, Mark Meadows’ claim that he is entitled to absolute immunity is not correct or justified based on the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel Memoranda. No one is above the law."
The big picture: Matthew M. Graves, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, informed Douglas Letter, House general counsel, on Friday that Meadows and Scavino would not be charged, according to a letter obtained by the New York Times.
- “Based on the individual facts and circumstances of their alleged contempt, my office will not be initiating prosecutions for criminal contempt as requested in the referral against Messrs. Meadows and Scavino,” the letter states.
- One count of contempt of Congress is punishable by a maximum of one year in jail, as well as a fine of up to $100,000, according to the DOJ.
Go deeper: Jan. 6 committee: When is the first hearing?