Peter Navarro, Trump’s Trade Strategist, Charged With Contempt

On Thursday, a grand jury charged former White House trade consultant Peter Navarro with felony contempt of Congress.

This was over him refusing to comply with the Democrats’ armed committee investigating the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot. 

First of Four

Per the indictment published on Friday, Navarro, 72, is accused of one count of failing to testify before a House examination and another count of refusing to provide lawmakers with necessary documentation. 

After the House voted in April to hold Navarro and erstwhile White House deputy chief of staff for communication Dan Scavino in contempt, Navarro now faces up to one year in incarceration.

He also faces a six-figure penalty on each of the two counts. Navarro functioned as the president’s consultant for all four years. 

The two followed erstwhile White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and erstwhile Trump aide Steve Bannon in facing contempt charges from the Department of Justice (DOJ) for disobeying similar summons orders from the January 6 Committee.

The first of the four to be charged is Navarro. On Tuesday, Navarro disclosed in an 88-page suit that the FBI recently presented him with a DOJ subpoena.

In Navarro’s lawsuit, lodged against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, her delegates on the House committee, and U.S. D.C. Prosecutor Matthew M. Graves, it asserts the select committee’s subpoena powers are invalid because they lack legitimacy. 

While staff of the Trump presidency and even the past president routinely invoked executive privilege to avoid complying with the select committee’s document requests, Democrats have rejected the claim.

The courts in Washington, D.C. no longer provide executive privilege safeguards, usurping Republican lawsuits to that end. 

Push Back

In February, Scavino’s legal team contended with committee chairman Bennie Thompson that recent judgments on the claim of executive privilege only covered a fraction of the requested papers. 

Before the midterm elections in November, the review panel will host the first in a succession of prime-time briefings on Thursday as the investigation enters its public show trial phase.

In March, committee aides admitted to The Washington Post that its effort was all about future primaries, given that Democrats lack a viable policy platform to stand on as Americans deal with record gasoline prices and inflation. 

A pair of prominent Republican legislators signaled their refusal to comply with Pelosi’s committee after delegates took the rare step of issuing subpoenas to House peers last week.

In a combined op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, two of the five Republicans in the second chamber, mentioned a subpoena by the committee.

They denounced the witch hunt investigation as “a scary abuse of power” that “serves no valid legislative purpose and erodes constitutional norms.” 

A little less than ten percent of the committee’s summons so far targeted people linked to the incident on Capitol Hill.