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Trump Aide Peter Navarro Doled Out Millions in Pandemic Contracts, Inquiry Finds

Trump Aide Peter Navarro Doled Out Millions in Pandemic Contracts, Inquiry Finds
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Trump Aide Peter Navarro Doled Out Millions in Pandemic Contracts, Inquiry Finds

Trump Aide Peter Navarro Doled Out Millions in Pandemic Contracts, Inquiry Finds

The Trump administration was so gradual to arrange for the coronavirus pandemic {that a} high aide to President Donald J. Trump took issues into his personal palms.

That aide, Peter Navarro, Mr. Trump’s deputy assistant and commerce adviser, personally steered a whole bunch of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in contracts for pandemic provides to politically linked or novice corporations, a preliminary investigation by Home Democrats has discovered.

Mr. Navarro sounded an early alarm about provide shortages, in accordance with emails and different paperwork launched by a Home committee overseeing the federal coronavirus response. In a memo dated March 1, 2020, he complained that “motion has been gradual.”

After that, paperwork present, he prodded the Federal Emergency Administration Company to award a $96 million sole-source contract for respirators to AirBoss Protection Group, a protection business provider, telling an organization govt “the whole lot you requested is OK,” though no contract had been signed.

The company awarded the sole-source contract six days later. AirBoss was represented by a retired Military normal, Jack Keane, who had been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Mr. Trump simply days earlier than the contract was issued

In a press release, Mr. Navarro stated he needed to maneuver aggressively to fight the specter of the virus.

“In a conflict, you could transfer with warp pace,” he wrote. “My mission was to help the president in saving lives, which we undeniably did. Given the identical set of info, I’d do the whole lot precisely the identical. Full cease!”

However the Democrats, led by Consultant James C. Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 Home Democrat, questioned Mr. Navarro’s efforts.

They famous that officers in Mr. Navarro’s workplace had coordinated with executives on the Eastman Kodak Firm, greatest recognized for its pictures enterprise, which then entered right into a letter of intent in June 2020 to collaborate on the home manufacture of pharmaceutical brokers, though the corporate had no expertise in that area.

Mr. Navarro additionally pushed for the Trump administration to award a $354 million contract to Phlow, a brand-new firm in Richmond, Va., to fabricate generic medicines and pharmaceutical components — an effort aimed toward build up an American manufacturing base for merchandise that have been wanted to deal with Covid-19 however have been made abroad. The Democrats’ investigation discovered that Mr. Navarro had been launched to Phlow’s chief govt in November 2019.

“My head goes to blow up if this contract doesn’t get instantly authorised,” Mr. Navarro wrote to high federal well being officers in March 2020. “It is a travesty. I would like PHLOW seen by Monday morning. That is being screwed up. Let’s transfer this now. We have to flip the change they usually can’t transfer till you do. FULL funding as we mentioned.”

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