Federal grand jury has indicted Trump’s former White House adviser, Peter Navarro, on two counts of contempt of Congress, according to court documents
These counts have come from him defying the subpoenas issued on him by the House panel and failing to follow through with their demands to provide documents and testimony.
House panel’s Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi and Vice Chair Liz Cheney said in a statement, “While today’s indictment of Peter Navarro was the correct decision by the Justice Department, we find the decision to reward Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino for their continued attack on the rule of law puzzling. Mr. Meadows and Mr. Scavino unquestionably have relevant knowledge about President Trump’s role in the efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the events of January 6th.”
Navarro was indicted on Thursday and that indictment was unsealed on Friday. He appeared in court on Friday, accusing the Department of Justice of “prosecutorial misconduct” for arresting him at the airport and calling them “despicable”. Furthermore, he argued that the panel doesn’t have any authority to subpoena him. According to him, “That committee is a sham committee that doesn’t have the power to issue subpoenas. They’ve basically weaponized their investigatory powers in a way which violates separation of powers.”
If Navarro is convicted, he faces chances of up to one year in jail and $100,000 fines for each count.
Navarro is one of Trump’s fervent supporters. He was actively vocal in promoting Trump’s claims of voter fraud and even published a book about the plan that would have overturned the elections. Navarro was subpoenaed in February and was demanded to provide documents and testimonies about Trump’s allies’ efforts to overturn the election. More specifically, lawmakers were seeking information about his public claims that more than a 100 lawmakers were on board with those efforts. In the letter sent to Navarro, Thompson wrote, “And, because you have already discussed these and other relevant issues in your recently published book, in interviews with reporters, and, among other places, on a podcast, we look forward to discussing them with you, too.”
Earlier this week, Navarro said he had been served a subpoena from the top federal prosecutor as part of the DOJ’s own efforts of investigation. This information became public when Navarro filed a lawsuit against the panel on Tuesday challenging their subpoena. Navarro will apparently be fighting his own case and his argument is based on the fact he should be immune to testifying due to his status in the White House at the time.
Basically, the DOJ and the panel are conducting their own set of investigations about the riot, however, panel members have expressed concerns over the DOJ not following through with the charges against Trump’s allies they referred to. Members claim that they aren’t aggressively probing into Trump’s administration. However, last month when the DOJ asked the panel to turn over all the materials, including the documents or interviews conducted in the future, the panel members requested them to narrow down the request. They also said that the DOJ would only be allowed to look at the documents, but not own them.
The DOJ also filed subpoenas against White House ex-strategist Steve Bannon, arguing that he could not claim “executive privilege”, since he was out of the house at the time. However, they still haven’t charged Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows or Trump’s deputy chief of staff, Dan Scanivo, who was referred to them the same day as Navarro.