Former Trump White House advisor Peter Navarro will have to stand trial after all, a judge has ruled.
Navarro apparently hoped a District Court would dismiss the criminal contempt of Congress charges against him after the January 6th Select Committee’s criminal referral to the Department of Justice.
But Judge Amit Mehta didn’t agree with the uncooperative witness in the congressional investigation into the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol.
In a 39-page decision, the Judge rejected the former Trade Secretary’s claims of executive privilege for his refusal to cooperate with the House committee probe.
Read the Judge’s opinion below.
“Defendant’s testimonial immunity defense rests on an unsupported factual premise,” Judge Mehta wrote. “Defendant has failed to come forward with any evidence to support the claimed assertion of privilege.
Defendant offers no proof to support that assertion. He has offered neither a sworn affidavit nor testimony from him or the former President.
In early February – a little over a year since the 2021 Capitol riot – the Jan. 6th committee served Navarro with a subpoena for documents and testimony in their investigation.
After missing the February 23rd deadline, investigators reached out to the President’s former top aide to remind Navarro to comply.
“President Trump has invoked Executive Privilege in this matter . . . . Accordingly, my hands are tied,” Navarro replied, the court ruling, states.
Judge Mehta points out that despite the former adviser’s claims he was given protected by executive privilege, Trump “gave clear, written instructions to two other senior advisors who received subpoenas from the Select Committee, but not to Defendant.”
The former President sent specific correspondence to former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. and former Deputy Chief of Staff Daniel Scavino directing them not to comply with the congressional subpoenas.
Navarro’s “selective prosecution” defense was also shut down.
Claiming that because the DOJ charged him and not others referred by the committee for prosecution is proof of government misconduct.
Mehta, however, reminded Navarro that Meadows and Scavino cooperated with the investigative panel for weeks.
“These interactions with the Select Committee stand in contrast to those of the defendant,” the judge wrote.
Though the Jan. 6 House Select Committee has officially wrapped up its investigation, the repercussions are far from over.
Former Trump senior advisor Steve Bannon was recently found guilty of Contempt of Congress – if there’s any justice or accountability, Navarro’s January 30th trial date will end the same.
Read Judge Mehta’s full opinion here.
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