Clyburn Dismantles Trump Official Peter Navarro’s Justification for Defiance of Subpoena, Demands Compliance

Dec 11, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (December 11, 2021) — Today, Rep. James E. Clyburn, Chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, sent a letter to Peter Navarro, former Director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy and an Assistant to President Trump, rejecting arguments Mr. Navarro raised in a December 7 letter attempting to avoid compliance with the Select Subcommittee’s November 18 subpoena.  In the letter, Chairman Clyburn outlined why Mr. Navarro’s refusal to comply with the subpoena is improper and reiterated his expectation for Mr. Navarro to produce documents and appear for a deposition on December 15.

Chairman Clyburn wrote:

“[Y]our letter presents no valid basis for refusing to comply with the subpoena.  Your refusal to comply is particularly indefensible given that you disclosed many details about your work in the White House, including details of conversations with the former President about the pandemic response, in your recent book and related press tour. … [T]he Select Subcommittee expects that you will immediately comply with the subpoena and produce all responsive records and information identified in the subpoena schedule without delay.” 

Chairman Clyburn issued a subpoena to Mr. Navarro on November 18 following Mr. Navarro’s refusal to cooperate with a voluntary request.  In issuing the subpoena, Chairman Clyburn explained that Mr. Navarro possessed information that is critical to the Select Subcommittee’s investigation, citing his central role in key aspects of the Trump Administration’s failed pandemic response—including its efforts to obtain personal protective equipment, failure to implement a coordinated national supply strategy, and prioritization of former President Trump’s Big Lie over the pandemic response.

Today’s letter explained why Mr. Navarro’s claim that he is “unable to respond to the [s]ubpoena based on former President Trump’s invocation of executive privilege with respect to the very topic covered” is invalid.  Under relevant rules and legal precedents, Mr. Trump’s status as a former president, the lack of specificity in the former president’s statement relied on by Mr. Navarro, the non-absolute nature of executive privilege, the fact that Mr. Navarro possesses information not covered by any colorable claims of executive privilege, and Mr. Navarro’s previous public disclosures together make clear that, as Chairman Clyburn wrote, Mr. Navarro’s “blanket refusal to comply with the subpoena in its entirety is improper.”  Mr. Navarro will have the opportunity to raise particularized claims of executive privilege for consideration when he provides responsive records and information and appears before the Select Subcommittee for a deposition.

Click here to read today’s letter to former Director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy and Assistant to President Trump, Peter Navarro.

Click here to read Mr. Navarro’s December 7 letter to Chairman Clyburn.


117th Congress