House panel subpoenas Navarro

The House select subcommittee on the pandemic has issued a subpoena to Peter Navarro, a former senior adviser to then-President Trump, asking for documents and a deposition related to the committee’s investigation into political interference from the former administration.

Subcommittee chairman Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) alleges Navarro prioritized politics and promoted the lie that the 2020 election was stolen over the COVID-19 response.

Clyburn is alleging Navarro also steered millions of dollars in contracts for pandemic supplies to unprepared or politically connected companies, like Eastman Kodak and Phlow.

Clyburn said Navarro, Trump’s former deputy assistant and trade adviser, has refused to voluntarily comply with repeated requests for documents since the select subcommittee first contacted him on Sept. 14.

“Mr. Navarro has demonstrated his unwillingness to voluntarily cooperate with the Select Subcommittee’s investigation. Given his central role in the pandemic response, the importance of the Select Subcommittee’s investigation, and his continued refusal to cooperate voluntarily, this subpoena is necessary,” Clyburn said in a memo.

Flashback: According to previously released emails and documents in the committee’s investigation, Navarro sounded an early alarm about the scope of the pandemic and urged Trump to move faster to stay ahead of the virus and secure tests, personal protective equipment and other supplies.

But he was ignored, and Trump continued to publicly downplay the severity of the virus. Committee Democrats allege Navarro then pursued his own ad hoc strategy for procuring key medical supplies, spending more than $1 billion in federal money for noncompetitive contracts with little oversight.

What’s next: The subpoena compels Navarro to produce all documents and information related to his involvement in the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic by December 8, and his appearance at a deposition on December 15.