Peter Navarro leaves West Wing
White House advisor Peter Navarro leaves the West Wing carrying a poster board displaying claims of voting irregularity. REUTERS/Erin Scott

The U.S. House of Representatives recommended contempt of Congress charges on Wednesday for former San Diego politician Peter Navarro for failing to cooperate with a House probe into the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Navarro, who ran unsuccessfully for local and state offices five times as a Democrat or independent while living in San Diego and teaching economics at UC Irvine, later served as former President Donald Trump’s top trade advisor.

Navarro and another former Trump aide, Daniel Scavino, who was a deputy chief of staff, did not comply with subpoenas to appear before the House Select Committee probing the Jan. 6, 2021, attack.

The House backed the charges against the two men by a party-line vote of 220-203, which refers the matter to the Department of Justice for a decision on whether to press criminal charges.

Only two Republicans, Jan. 6 Select Committee members Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, joined Democrats in voting in favor.

The nine-member Select Committee had voted unanimously in favor of the contempt charges last week.

Scavino and Navarro have argued that their communications are protected by executive privilege, although many legal experts have said that principle does not apply to former presidents. President Joe Biden’s administration has denied executive privilege to the former Trump aides.

The two men have not responded to requests for comment on the matter.

Contempt of Congress bears a penalty of up to a year’s imprisonment and a fine up to $100,000.

“In America, no one is above the law. Neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Scavino nor Mr. Navarro is some form of royalty,” Cheney said before the vote.

The House backed contempt of Congress charges last year for Steve Bannon, a Trump adviser. He was charged in a case set to go to trial in July.

The chamber also voted in December in favor of a contempt charge for Mark Meadows, a former House member who became Trump’s chief of staff. There has been no word from the Justice Department on whether charges will be filed.

The Democratic-led Select Committee has been investigating events leading to the assault on the seat of the U.S. government by thousands of Trump supporters on Jan. 6, 2021, when Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers gathered to certify Biden’s victory in the November 2020 presidential election.

Reuters contributed to this article.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.