The Justice Department has declined to indict former Trump White House officials Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino after both men were found in contempt of Congress by the House Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The decision comes as a blow to the committee just hours after a grand jury indicted another Trump administration official, former trade adviser Peter Navaro, for his refusal to cooperate with the investigation.
“While today’s indictment of Peter Navarro was the correct decision by the Justice Department, we find the decision to reward Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino for their continued attack on the rule of law puzzling,” Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson, Mississippi Democrat, and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, Wyoming Republican, said in a statement late Friday.
All three former officials refused to comply fully with the committee’s probe citing the former president’s claims of executive privilege, which former President Donald Trump asserted in a lawsuit to block the release of White House documents to the committee.
President Biden overruled Mr. Trump’s claims of executive privilege and the Supreme Court later rejected the former president’s attempts to block the release of the documents in January.
Messrs. Meadows and Navarro have filed separate lawsuits arguing that they do not have the authority to waive Mr. Trump’s assertions of executive privilege, which they claim are still in play.
In their statement Friday, Reps. Thompson and Cheney said they hoped the Justice Department would provide “greater clarity” on why it has declined to charge Messrs. Meadows and Scavino.
“If the Department’s position is that either or both of these men have absolute immunity from appearing before Congress because of their former positions in the Trump Administration, that question is the focus of pending litigation,” the lawmakers said.