Trump Trade Advisor Indicted for Contempt for Refusing to Testify About Capitol Riot

June 3, 2022 by Tom Ramstack
Trump Trade Advisor Indicted for Contempt for Refusing to Testify About Capitol Riot
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the White House, on Aug. 14, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

WASHINGTON — Former Trump administration trade advisor Peter Navarro was indicted Friday on charges of contempt of Congress for refusing to testify about his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

An investigation by a House committee revealed Navarro might have worked with former Trump advisor Steve Bannon and others to delay Congress’ certification of the 2020 election.

The rioters broke into the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as Congress was voting to certify the election results. Then-President Donald Trump told them during a speech the same day the election was stolen from him by fraud.

Navarro, 72, was the architect of a Trump, get-tough trade policy toward China. He is the second Trump advisor charged with contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with the House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the United States Capitol.  

The other is Bannon, who is scheduled for trial on July 18.

Navarro is charged with one count of contempt for refusing to appear for a deposition and a second count for declining to produce documents to the committee, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Washington, D.C. 

“As detailed in the indictment, on Feb. 9, 2022, the select committee issued a subpoena to Navarro,” the Justice Department announcement says. “The subpoena required him to appear and produce documents to the select committee on Feb. 23, 2022, and to appear for a deposition before the select committee on March 2, 2022.”

Navarro made a first appearance Friday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, where the charges were read to him.

Each count of contempt of Congress carries a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year in jail, as well as a fine as high as $100,000.

After the congressional subpoena, Navarro was subpoenaed a second time by a grand jury on whether he should be indicted for contempt of Congress. 

Navarro tried to block the grand jury action by filing a lawsuit Tuesday that called the subpoena illegal. The status of the lawsuit is unclear.

Navarro claims he is exempt from the Justice Department prosecution because of the executive privilege the Constitution grants the president and his staff. He also says President Joe Biden is secretly seeking revenge against Trump administration officials.

The contempt case against him is presided over by Judge Amit Mehta, who also is handling a lawsuit filed against Trump and others by two congressmen and two Capitol police officers who say the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection infringed on their rights. They blame Trump and extreme White nationalists.

Tom can be reached at [email protected] and @TomRamstack

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  • Contempt of Congress
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