Former President Donald Trump publicly called on his former trade adviser, Peter Navarro, to defy a House committee that subpoenaed him as part of an investigation into the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The Communist Democrats are engaging in yet another Witch Hunt, this time going after my Administration’s unprecedented and incredible coronavirus response,” Trump said in a statement. “I’m telling Peter Navarro to protect executive privilege and not let these unhinged Democrats discredit our great accomplishments.” This now marks the latest case in which the former president is encouraging his aides and allies to not cooperate with ongoing congressional investigations, most notably the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Trump released the statement days after the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus issued a subpoena for Navarro as part of its investigation into the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic. The subpoena requires Navarro to hand over documents by Dec. 8 tied to his work on the White House pandemic response appear for a deposition by Dec. 15. “Mr. Navarro has refused to voluntarily comply with the Select Subcommittee’s requests — ignoring repeated attempts to gain his voluntarily compliance and otherwise failing to communicate with Select Subcommittee staff,” Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the chairman of the subcommittee, said.
Navarro had already characterized the subpoena as a “witch hunt” in a statement in which he appeared to dismiss the subpoena. Navarro said that he would be giving a copy of his new book to the lawmakers investigating the pandemic response to show why “the committee is (as usual) barking up the wrong tree.”