DOJ declines to charge Mark Meadows, Dan Scavino with contempt of Congress

2DFA3P0 Mark Meadows, White House chief of staff, right, and Dan Scavino Jr., White House deputy chief of staff, walk on the South Lawn of the White House after arriving on Marine One in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, May 14, 2020. President Donald Trump visited the factory of Owens and Minor, a medical equipment distributor, in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Photo by Andrew Harrer/Pool/ABACAPRESS.COM

Photo: Alamy

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has declined to charge former Trump administration officials Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino for their refusal to cooperate with the House select committee’s investigation into the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, according to the New York Times.

The DOJ’s decision was revealed through a letter reviewed by The Times sent Friday by Matthew M. Graves, U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, to House of Representatives General Counsel Douglas N. Letter.

“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,” Graves reportedly wrote. “My office’s review of each of the contempt referrals arising from the Jan. 6 committee’s investigation is complete.”

The announcement came on the same day it was revealed that a federal grand jury had indicted former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro for failing to comply with a subpoena from the House committee on the same matter.

The Times reported that both Meadows and Scavino – the former White House chief of staff and deputy chief of staff for communications, respectively – had been engaged in negotiations with the committee’s lawyers for weeks before the House voted to charge them with contempt.

In response to Friday’s news, Meadows’ attorney, George J. Terwilliger III, told the outlet, “The result speaks for itself.”

Meanwhile, in an email to The Hill, Scavino’s attorney, Stan Brand, said, “We are grateful that DOJ exercised its sound discretion to decline prosecution given the substantial legal issues affecting the validity of the Jan 6 committee subpoena.”

Although the two former Trump officials were understandably pleased with the result, Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Vice-Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said in a joint statement that they found the DOJ’s decision “puzzling.” The two also expressed a hope for “greater clarity” on the reasoning behind it.

Per the Washington Examiner, Navarro, who was indicted on two counts of contempt of Congress, is the second former White House official to be charged in connection with the events of Jan. 6. Steve Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, was indicted last year for defying a House select committee subpoena. That case will head to trial July 18.

The committee, meanwhile, will host its first public hearing of the next phase of its inquiry next Thursday at 8:00 p.m. ET.

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