URGENT: Ex-White House advisor Andy Slavitt is refusing to comply with a subpoena over questions about how he tried to censor me and others in 2021
Ignoring a similar subpoena got Trump advisor Peter Navarro convicted of contempt of Congress; but Biden's Justice Department says it won't prosecute Slavitt. Rules are for thee, not for Andy.
Andrew Slavitt, the former Biden Administration operative who in 2021 helped conspire to violate my First Amendment rights and make Twitter ban me, has refused to comply with a Congressional subpoena to testify about his actions.
Slavitt’s lawyers told the House Judiciary Committee last Wednesday he would ignore a subpoena ordering him to testify under oath to the committee that day because he “had received a letter from the White House instructing him not to appear.”
The committee had subpoenaed Slavitt to testify on how he colluded with social media companies to censor speech the Biden Administration disliked, including my Twitter account and its reporting on the mRNA Covid jabs.
(It is so very on. Me against the White House. Oh, and Pfizer’s chairman too. Help me stay on the case.)
Refusing to comply with a Congressional subpoena is a federal crime.
In September, a jury in Washington, D.C. convicted Peter Navarro, a former advisor to Donald Trump, of contempt of Congress for refusing to testify to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 protests and attack on the Capitol. A judge has sentenced Navarro to four months in jail. Trump aide Steve Bannon has also been convicted for failing to testify to the Jan. 6 committee.
But the Biden Administration has already told Slavitt he need not fear similar charges. It claims the subpoena is not legally valid and cannot be enforced.
In a letter to Slavitt’s attorneys, Richard Sauber, a White House lawyer, said the Biden Administration’s Department of Justice will not prosecute Slavitt - or even bring a civil case against him.
“The Department has advised me of its position that Mr. Slavitt cannot be prosecuted for contempt of Congress, punished through the use of any inherent congressional contempt authority, or held liable in a civil enforcement action for failing to appear at his scheduled deposition,” Sauber wrote.
(Contempt of Congress is a crime. Except when the White House says it isn’t.)
Slavitt is a healthcare industry investor who has worked for both the Biden and Obama administrations and became prominent in 2020 for his Covid hysteria on Twitter. (In November 2020, he advised people to make their children “sleep in the garage” if they might have been exposed to Covid, then claimed he was joking.)
From January to June 2021, Slavitt served as senior advisor to the Biden administration’s Covid response team, and he remained in very close contact with the White House afterwards.
At the time, I was aggressively investigating the mRNA Covid jabs and had a huge audience on Twitter.
Both during and after his time at the White House, Slavitt pressed Twitter to ban me. (Twitter executives openly discussed the pressure following a April 2021 meeting with Slavitt and Robert Flaherty, the then-White House director of digital strategy, who is another defendant in Berenson v. Biden.)
Along with telling Slavitt not to testify, Sauber - whose official title is “special counsel to the President” - also wrote directly to the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday to tell them that Slavitt and Flaherty would fail to comply with the subpoena.
In his letter, Sauber cited “the separation of powers and the institutional interests of the White House - ” a more polite way to say “executive privilege” - to justify the refusal to comply.
(Yep, this is a double-subscribe-button article. It’s that important.)
But in the 1974 Watergate case that led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation, the Supreme Court ruled separation of powers or executive privilege claims had to be viewed very narrowly, generally for military or diplomatic affairs.
And Navarro himself claimed “executive privilege” as a defense when he refused to testify to the Jan. 6 committee, as the Justice Department’s indictment of Navarro makes clear.
But when it came to Navarro, the Biden Administration insisted that his “assertion of executive privilege is not in the national interest, and therefore is not justified.”
The federal judge in Navarro’s case - an Obama appointee - later ruled Navarro he could not claim executive privilege as a defense, essentially guaranteeing his conviction.
So now you know! If former Biden officials don’t want to have to testify before Congress, “the institutional interests of the White House” take precedent, and the Biden Department of Justice will not prosecute. But if a Trump appointee wants to avoid telling the truth under oath, well, the law is what it is, and we are all subject to its majesty and might.
Did I say “all”?
I meant almost all.