Justice Department won't pursue criminal contempt charges against Mark Meadows, Scavino

Justice Department won't pursue criminal contempt charges against Mark Meadows, Scavino

The US Department of Justice won't pursue charges of criminal contempt of Congress against former Trump White House officials Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino because they refused to comply with subpoenas in the congressional investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

The decision sent to the House of Representatives on Friday morning marks a major blow to the House Select Committee on January 6, which had sought prosecutions for the two Trump aides in criminal referrals.

In a letter sent around the time the Justice Department charged former Trump White House official Peter Navarro with contempt for defying his subpoena, the US attorney for the District of Columbia said he would not take any action against Meadows and Scavino.

My office will not be initiating prosecutions for criminal contempt on the basis of the individual facts and circumstances of their alleged contempt, as requested in the referral against Messrs Meadows and Scavino, the US attorney Matthew Graves, said.

Two sources familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications were confirmed by the Justice Department's letter, which was previously reported by the New York Times.

Graves said in his letter that his office was closing the probes into two of Trump's most senior advisers, despite declining to prosecute Meadows and Scavino. He said that the review of each of the contempt referrals arising from the Jan. 6 committee investigation is complete.

Meadows did not respond to a request for comment on Friday. An attorney for Scavino could not be reached late on Friday. The US attorney's office hasn't responded to requests for comment.

The Justice Department's justice department is facing five months of speculation over whether it will bring contempt charges against Meadows, who was heavily involved in Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election results as White House chief of staff.

Meadows was one of the first targets to receive a subpoena from the select committee and initially assisted the investigation under a cooperation agreement, turning over thousands of pages of documents and communications, until he abruptly withdrew from the deal.

After he refused to attend a closed-door deposition, the select committee moved to recommend him for criminal contempt of Congress, but that initial cooperation in addition to his valid claims of executive privilege appears to have brought him a reprieve.

The committee also recommended contempt of Congress charges for Dan Scavino, the former Trump White House deputy chief of staff for communications, who remained in close proximity to Trump on January 6 and was subpoenaed to give documents and testimony.

Scavino is not understood to have provided any materials. Scavino spent months negotiating with the select committee on executive privilege and justice department office of legal counsel memos that shield presidential advisers from testifying.