Trump Fumes After Lawmakers Subpoena Peter Navarro Over Admin's COVID Response

Former President Donald Trump attacked congressional Democrats Saturday after a subcommittee investigation into his administration's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic issued a subpoena for his former aide Peter Navarro.

Lawmakers issued the subpoena Thursday after Navarro, who served as the Trump administration's trade advisor, allegedly didn't respond to document requests from the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.

Representative James Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat who chairs the subcommittee, wrote in a memo that Navarro has not complied and failed to communicate with staff on the subcommittee. He wrote that staff members have tried to communicate with Navarro more than a dozen times via phone calls, voicemail messages, emails and text messages.

"Mr. Navarro has demonstrated his unwillingness to voluntarily cooperate with the Select Subcommittee's investigation," Clyburn wrote. "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."

The subpoena compels Navarro to produce the requested documents and information by December 8, with his scheduled deposition on December 15, according to the memo.

Trump blasted the subpoena in a statement shared by spokesperson Liz Harrington.

"The Communist Democrats are engaging in yet another Witch Hunt, this time going after my Administration's unprecedented and incredible coronavirus response, despite the fact that, sadly, more Americans have died this year from Covid than in all of 2020," the statement said. "It is a Witch Hunt that's been going on for years."

He added: "I'm telling Peter Navarro to protect executive privilege and not let these unhinged Democrats discredit our great accomplishments. The Witch Hunts must end!"

Navarro also called the subpoena a "witch hunt" in a statement to Politico.

"I will be delivering a case of my new book 'In Trump Time' to members of the committee which explains why this is indeed a witch hunt," he said in the statement.

Peter Navarro Subpoena Trump Statement
Former President Trump on Saturday attacked lawmakers investigating whether his administration mishandled the COVID-19 pandemic after they subpoenaed Peter Navarro (pictured above in June 2020) a few days earlier. Alex Wong/Getty Images

In the memo, Clyburn accused Navarro and Trump of pushing responsibility for the pandemic to states, pursing a "haphazard and ineffective approach to procurement," as well as exercising "inappropriate influence over contract awards."

In September, the subcommittee previously subpoenaed Steven Hatfill, who served as an advisor to Navarro, Politico reported. But some Trump-era advisers have been more willing to cooperate with the subcommittee.

Dr. Deborah Birx, who served as Trump's coronavirus advisor, testified in October that she believes 30 to 40 percent of the roughly 738,000 COVID-19 deaths in the United States could have been prevented if the White House took the necessary steps to limit the virus' spread.