In a statement to POLITICO, Navarro described the Congress investigation and subpoena as a “witch hunt”. “I’m going to present the members of the committee with a case of my new book, In Trump Time, which explains why this is, in fact, a witch hunt,” he said.
Navarro joined the government at the beginning of President Donald Trump’s tenure as director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy. As the pandemic broke out, Navarro became an increasingly influential member of the White House team that responded to the virus and advised the president on supply shortages and ways to keep the American economy going during the lockdown. His testimony and personal materials would help shed light on how the Trump administration responded to early warnings about the virus, its potential economic consequences, and securing goods such as masks, gowns and ventilators.
Through previous testimony and document requests, the committee found that Navarro kept a daily journal of his time at the White House and used an encrypted personal email account between February 2020 and January 2021 to communicate with White House staff.
In e-mails published by the committee in September, Hatfill Navarro warns of how little scientists understood about Covid-19 and pushed for “open honesty”. “The truth is, we have no idea how many are infected in the US. We expect the first wave to spread in the US within the next 7 days, ”said Hatfill. A few days after Hatfill’s note, Navarro penned a note to Trump calling the virus a democratic joke at the time, stating that government action against the pandemic was “NOT fast enough”.
Despite those early warnings, Rep. Jim Clyburn (DS.C.), chairman of the elected panel, said Navarro had “taken a haphazard and ineffective approach to procurement,” according to a notice he sent panel members on Thursday.
Navarro helped source medical supplies and drugs for the US in 2020, and placed much of the responsibility on states to secure their own products in the open market. In order to build up the federal government’s inventories, Navarro placed orders with government-related companies without going through the normal tendering process and prioritized securing personal protective equipment that was manufactured in the country despite the lack of production capacities.
During his time working on pandemic response, Navarro also advanced Covid-19 guidelines and science that were inaccurate and shared with top health professionals in the administration.
In August 2020, despite a lack of scientific evidence, Navarro began promoting hydroxychloroquine as a potential cure for Covid-19. In previous months, the Food and Drug Administration had warned against using it outside of clinical trials and revoked its approval in case of emergency. But Navarro, citing often unreliable medical studies, continued to claim the drug worked and hit doctors and scientists for not advocating its use.
Perhaps most notably, Navarro has developed an adversarial relationship with Anthony Fauci, one of the leaders of the Covid-19 task force. Fauci has often publicly opposed Navarro’s ideas to curb the spread of the virus, particularly regarding the use of hydroxychloroquine. Navarro openly criticized Fauci on national television, falsely claiming he was responsible for causing Covid-19 because of financial ties between the National Institutes of Health and a laboratory in Wuhan, China.