Stephanie Murphy: Peter Navarro is in Contempt of Congress and DOJ Should Prosecute

This week, U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., a member of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, made the following statement during a March 28th meeting of the Select Committee.

Murphy’s statement follows the release of a report recommending that the U.S. House of Representatives cite Daniel Scavino, Jr. and Peter Navarro for criminal contempt of Congress. The Committee unanimously voted to adopt the report. Below are the remarks as prepared for delivery:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I’ll pick up where my colleague, Mr. Aguilar, left off.

Over a month-and-a-half ago, Mr. Navarro was subpoenaed by this committee. We sought documents and testimony regarding his efforts to discredit the election and to prevent the results from being certified.

This information is central to our committee’s inquiry.

Mr. Navarro refused to comply, making a cursory claim of executive privilege.

There are many reasons why this blanket assertion of executive privilege lacks merit, as a matter of law and as a matter of common sense.

Most fundamentally, neither the incumbent nor the former President has asserted privilege regarding Mr. Navarro’s testimony or document production to the committee—and Mr. Navarro has no unilateral authority to assert privilege himself.

Beyond that foundational flaw in Mr. Navarro’s privilege claim, since the election, he has written and spoken widely about the precise subjects that are the focus of our subpoena.

Clearly, Mr. Navarro is eager to tell his story, as he sees it, so long as he can do so on his own terms.

For example, in 2020 and 2021, Mr. Navarro published a three-part report on his website, called “The Navarro Report.” In it, he makes allegations about election fraud that have been debunked.
Furthermore, in November 2021, Mr. Navarro published a book called “In Trump Time.” He describes—in detail—actions he took to change the outcome of the election.

For instance, Mr. Navarro claims credit for working with Steve Bannon to concoct a scheme they called the “Green Bay Sweep.” The core of this plan was to encourage Vice President Pence to delay certification of the electoral college votes on January 6th and to send the election back to state legislatures.

In his book, Mr. Navarro also writes that he called Attorney General William Barr, asking the Department of Justice to support President Trump’s legal efforts to challenge the election results, which Barr declined to do.

Notably, Mr. Navarro acknowledges that he kept a journal detailing this episode and other post-election actions he took.

Finally, earlier this year, at the same time he was refusing to comply with our subpoena, Mr. Navarro made multiple media appearances, during which he discussed his various roles in the events that culminated in the January 6th attack.

I’d like to play a media clip now. Can you please cue the clip?

[Clip is below]

Mr. Navarro has so much knowledge to share with a journalist, but he refuses to share that knowledge in response to a lawful subpoena.

Evidently, Mr. Navarro is only concerned with executive privilege—with keeping certain matters confidential—when it is convenient.

Unfortunately for him, but fortunately for the American public, that’s not how the law works.

No President—incumbent or former—has claimed privilege regarding Mr. Navarro’s testimony and documents. And, in any event, his claim of executive privilege is severely undermined, if not foreclosed altogether, by his extensive public disclosures on the same issues the committee seeks to question him about—under oath.

As a result of his actions, Mr. Navarro is clearly in contempt of Congress and should be referred to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution.

I yield back.

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