© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former White House Adviser Peter Navarro leaves the West Wing carrying a poster alleging irregular voting at the White House in Washington, USA, January 15, 2021. REUTERS / Erin Scott // File Photo
Authors: Doina Chiacu and David Morgan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Peter Navarro, a former chief adviser to former President Donald Trump, has been accused of contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with a House of Representatives committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol.
A federal grand jury has accused Navarre of one count, including refusing to appear before a panel on Jan. 6, and another of refusing to submit documents in response to a summons, the ministry said.
Navarro pleaded not guilty at his 72-minute hearing before misdemeanor judge Ziya Faruki in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. A former Trump adviser has accused the Justice Department of “misconduct” for arresting him at a local airport while trying to travel to Nashville and New York.
Navarro said that the authorities ignored his request to contact a lawyer and refused to allow him to make phone calls during the arrest. “I am ‘disappointed’ in our republic,” he told the judge. His next court appearance is scheduled for June 17.
A longtime Chinese hawk, Navarro advised Trump on trade issues and also served on his COVID-19 task force. He had previously claimed that his communication was protected by the privilege of the executive, a legal principle that protects the president’s communication.
He was indicted a week before the commission is due to hold the first in a series of public hearings on its investigation on June 9th. And that happened two days after Navarro filed a civil lawsuit against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Committee.
Trump called on his associates not to cooperate with the investigation led by the Democrats, calling it politically motivated.
In its subpoena, the committee said it had reason to believe that Navarro, 72, had information relevant to his investigation.
‘GREEN BAY SWEEP’
In interviews with the media and in his book, Navarro said he helped coordinate efforts – known as “Green Bay Sweep” – to stop confirming Biden’s victory and keep Trump in power.
Navarro faces up to a year in prison on each count if convicted. He also faces a fine, but a court-appointed lawyer has challenged the Justice Department’s claim that he could be fined as much as $ 100,000 on each count, arguing instead that the maximum fine should be $ 1,000.
Navarro argued extensively that he had delayed the criminal proceedings and instead continued with his civil lawsuit against the committee, arguing that the case against him stemmed from a collusion between the Justice Department, Congress and the Biden White House.
“The prosecution has put me in an unsustainable position of conflicting constitutional interpretations,” Navarro said. “This is something that needs to get to the Supreme Court.”
Navarro is another prominent Trump adviser who has faced criminal charges in the investigation.
Stephen Bannon, once the chief strategist of the former Republican president, was criminally charged in November for defying a subpoena.
The Democrat-controlled House recommended charges of contempt of court in April against Navarre and Daniel Scavin, Trump’s former deputy chief of staff. In December, the House voted on a charge of contempt of court for Mark Meadows, a former member of the House of Representatives who became Trump’s chief of staff.
The Ministry of Justice did not follow the instructions for Meadows or Scavino.
The New York Times reported late Friday that the Department of Justice has decided not to accuse Meadows and Scavin of contempt of Congress. The newspaper quoted people who were familiar with the issue and a letter they considered from the prosecutor informing the House’s chief representative of the decision.
The office of the chief councilor of the House of Representatives sent Reuters’ request for comment to Pelosi’s office, which did not respond immediately. The U.S. District Attorney’s Office declined to comment.
The select committee conducted more than 1,000 interviews, including many with former White House aides, as it investigated an attack by thousands of Trump supporters on January 6, 2021, as Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers gathered to confirm Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the November 2020 presidential election. .
After Trump repeated his false claims at a noisy rally that his defeat was the result of fraud, the mob raged through the Capitol, wounding police officers and sending Pence, lawmakers, staff and journalists to flee to safety.
Four people were killed on the day of the attack, and one Capitol police officer who was fighting the rioters passed away the next day. Four police officers have taken their own lives since then.