Former Trump Adviser Charged With Contempt for Defying Jan. 6 Subpoena
Peter Navarro, a White House adviser to former President Donald J. Trump who defied a subpoena to supply data to the House committee investigating the Capitol assault, was indicted on Friday by a federal grand jury on fees of contempt of Congress.
Prosecutors mentioned that Mr. Navarro, 72, failed to look for a deposition or present paperwork to congressional investigators in response to a subpoena issued by the House committee on Feb. 9. The indictment fees him with two counts of contempt that every carry a most sentence of a year in jail, in addition to a high quality of as much as $100,000.
Mr. Navarro, who was arrested and brought into federal custody, didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. He appeared in Federal District Court in Washington on Friday afternoon.
A former White House commerce adviser who undertook intensive efforts to maintain Mr. Trump in office after the 2020 election, Mr. Navarro is the second high-ranking former presidential aide to be charged with contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault. Stephen Okay. Bannon, a former prime aide to Mr. Trump, was indicted in November on related fees.
The indictment in opposition to Mr. Navarro got here almost two months after the House voted principally alongside social gathering traces to suggest prison fees in opposition to him. The identical vote additionally advisable a contempt indictment in opposition to one other of Mr. Trump’s prime aides, Dan Scavino Jr.
The House has additionally advisable that Mark Meadows, the previous White House chief of workers, be charged with contempt. But the Justice Department has but to take motion on the prison referrals in opposition to Mr. Meadows or Mr. Scavino.
The House subpoena that Mr. Navarro received sought paperwork and testimony about an effort to overturn the election that he had billed because the “Green Bay Sweep.” The plan known as for lawmakers in key swing states to staff with Republican members of Congress and Vice President Mike Pence to reject the outcomes that confirmed Joseph R. Biden Jr. had received the election with the intention to give Mr. Trump the victory.
The subpoena additionally talked about a name that Mr. Navarro participated in with Mr. Trump and his legal professionals on Jan. 2, 2021, by which they tried to influence a whole bunch of state lawmakers to affix the trouble.
Mr. Navarro additionally wrote a 36-page report claiming election fraud as a part of what he known as an “immaculate deception” that he mentioned he made certain was distributed to Republican members of Congress.
There is not any proof of widespread fraud within the 2020 election, and the Jan. 6 committee has described the claims in Mr. Navarro’s report as having been (*6*)
The indictment comes days after Mr. Navarro filed a lawsuit in opposition to the House committee, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the U.S. lawyer for the District of Columbia, by which he questioned the authority and validity of the inquiry.
In the lawsuit, Mr. Navarro additionally revealed that he had just lately acquired one other subpoena, this one from a federal grand jury in Washington. That subpoena sought paperwork from him associated to any communications he could have had with Mr. Trump or his legal professionals.
Mr. Navarro has claimed that as a result of Mr. Trump invoked government privilege to bar the disclosure of knowledge requested by the Jan. 6 investigators, he’s prevented from complying with the subpoena. Prosecutors have been probably all in favour of how carefully Mr. Navarro was in contact with the previous president or his legal professionals with the intention to assess that protection in opposition to the contempt of Congress cost.
“The executive privilege invoked by President Trump is not mine to waive,” Mr. Navarro has repeatedly mentioned.
Mr. Bannon has additionally sought to argue that he doesn’t need to comply together with his personal subpoena due to Mr. Trump’s claims of government privilege. A trial in his case is tentatively scheduled for July.
Mr. Bannon is arguing that the choose committee is just not a official investigative physique however a politically motivated one, citing the truth that two of its members have written books that presuppose who’s responsible for the Capitol riot although the inquiry has not ended.
While contempt of Congress fees are not often introduced, the circumstances filed in opposition to Mr. Navarro and Mr. Bannon recommend that the Justice Department has been keen to take a troublesome stance in opposition to at the very least a few of Mr. Trump’s former aides who’ve stonewalled the House committee’s efforts.
The fees in opposition to Mr. Navarro come at a politically delicate second: one week earlier than the committee is poised to start a sequence of high-profile hearings on its findings.
Mr. Navarro has taken an equally aggressive stance towards the committee, particularly with regard to its Democratic members. In his lawsuit, he vowed payback in opposition to Democrats ought to Republicans retake the White House and Congress in 2024.
“If I’m not dead or in prison,” he wrote, “I will lead the charge.”
Maggie Haberman contributed reporting.