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Former Trump aide Navarro indicted, but Justice Dept. won't charge Meadows or Scavino

Former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro listens as former President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the White House, on Aug. 14, 2020.
Patrick Semansky
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AP
Former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro listens as former President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the White House, on Aug. 14, 2020.

Updated June 4, 2022 at 2:00 PM ET

A federal grand jury has indicted Peter Navarro on two counts of contempt of Congress after he failed to comply with a subpoena from the House of Representatives select committee investigating the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Navarro, former President Donald Trump's trade adviser, had refused to appear for a deposition and to produce documents for the committee investigating the siege of the Capitol that was intended to stop Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 election.

The indictment was returned on Thursday and unsealed on Friday. Navarro appeared in court on Friday afternoon, where he accused prosecutors of "playing hardball" and blasted the government for his public arrest.

Each of the charges carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and fines up to $100,000.

The Justice Department will not prosecute Dan Scavino, left, and Mark Meadows, former members of the Trump administration, two sources tell NPR.
Drew Angerer / Getty Images
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Getty Images
The Justice Department will not prosecute Dan Scavino, left, and Mark Meadows, former members of the Trump administration, two sources tell NPR.

Two sources told NPR on Friday that the Justice Department would not prosecute former Trump White House aide Dan Scavino and former chief of staff Mark Meadows. Legal experts said such a case would be difficult given that both had partially cooperated and worked much more closely with Trump.

Navarro has argued he should be immune from testimony because he is shielded by executive privilege through former President Trump.

President Joe Biden has argued the violent protest on Jan. 6, 2021, where pro-Trump rioters stormed through barricades and injured law enforcement officers, was a severe attack on democracy that doesn't deserve those legal shields.

The Democrat-led U.S. House voted in April to hold Navarro and Scavino in criminal contempt of Congress for defying subpoenas. Only two Republicans, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, who both serve on the committee, voted for the referrals.

The panel had issued a 34-page report and two dozen exhibits documenting attempts get both Navarro and Scavino to cooperate.

The House has also approved referring contempt charges against Meadows and former White House aide Steve Bannon to the Justice Department. DOJ has indicted Bannon and his trial is set for this summer.

Navarro's indictment comes less than a week before the committee's major prime-time hearing laying out what it has uncovered so far in its nearly year-long investigation. Altogether, the panel is expected to hold about a half dozen public hearings in June and release a report on its findings in September.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Carrie Johnson is a justice correspondent for the Washington Desk.

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