Recommending That the House of Representatives Find Peter K. Navarro and Daniel Scavino, Jr., in Contempt of Congress

Floor Speech

Date: April 6, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SCHIFF. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of a simple, but sacred principle: No one is above the law.

Peter Navarro was one of the former president's closest allies. And, by his own admission, played a direct role in planning and coordinating the events of January 6. He speaks to that role on television, on podcasts, and even in his own book--yet he refuses to do so before Congress, even when compelled by a lawful subpoena. That is unjustifiable, and in light of the subpoena, a criminal form of contempt.

Dan Scavino was similarly close to the former president--and similarly involved in the events leading up to and on January 6. Mr. Scavino played an intimate role in crafting former President Trump's social media strategy and served as his Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications. And, like Mr. Navarro, he was called before our committee because our evidence and public reporting, suggests he possesses direct, personal knowledge of the events leading up to January 6, and while the Capitol was under siege.

Unfortunately, both Mr. Navarro and Mr. Scavino have chosen at every turn to obstruct, to conceal their knowledge, forgoing their legal duty to comply with a congressional subpoena and attempting instead to hide behind spurious claims of privilege.

But let me be clear: There is no privilege that allows a witness to simply refuse to appear. President Biden has declined to assert any privilege and properly concluded that the national interests in hearing the testimony of Navarro and Scavino clearly outweigh any other consideration. And there is certainly no privilege that allows a witness to refuse to appear before Congress while sitting for press interviews or discussing the matter in a book.

I urge all of my colleagues to vote in favor of this resolution. To do otherwise would set a dangerous precedent: That Congress is not a body that is capable of, or willing to, carry out meaningful oversight. That our subpoenas can be shrugged off or ignored. And that the American people can no longer have faith in our ability to investigate potential abuses of power by any president--past, present, or future.

As Judge Carter said last week in his ruling, `If the country does not commit to investigating and pursuing accountability for those responsible, the Court fears January 6 will repeat itself.' He is right. We must commit to the pursuit of accountability and justice. Not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans who love and cherish our democracy.

And I will take just one more moment to urge the Department of Justice to act with all due haste when they receive the criminal contempt referrals for Mr. Scavino and Mr. Navarro. And not just with respect to these referrals, but on any evidence of criminality connected to efforts to overturn the election. The rule of law must apply equally to all Americans, including former presidents. To do otherwise, risks another repetition of January 6th--or worse.