(Fwrd Axis) — Former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro was arrested on Friday morning and charged with contempt of Congress — allegations he vowed to fight.
A federal grand jury indicted Navarro after defying a House committee’s subpoena investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol. Navarro’s indictment will remain sealed until his “arrest operation is executed.”
The 72-year-old spoke to reporters and said he was arrested at the airport while en route to Nashville for a television appearance. He was released without bail and ordered to return to the Washington, D.C., court on June 17.
Navarro was indicted on two counts of contempt of Congress, one for failing to provide papers, and another for failing to provide testimony. According to the court filing, the government didn’t want to warn Navarro about the arrest because it “would give the Defendant the opportunity to flee, tamper with witnesses or evidence, or take other steps to interfere with the criminal case.”
The indictment says Navarro is a “private citizen” and that he never appeared before the House committee and never requested an extension for time to appear after he was subpoenaed.
“In fact, NAVARRO had not communicated with the Select Committee in any way after receiving the subpoena on February 9, 2022,” the indictment alleges, until Feb. 27, when he claimed in an email that his “hands are tied” because former President Donald Trump invoked executive privilege. The committee told him he could assert executive privilege on a question-by-question basis during his deposition, and noted there were topics they planned to ask him about that would not raise ‘any executive privilege concerns at all,” but Navarro still failed to appear, the indictment says.
Earlier this week, Navarro sued the House committee, saying the subpoenas should be dismissed.
On Thursday, Navarro appeared on MSNBC for an interview with Ari Melber, saying he was in “negotiations” with the Justice Department and was “taking this very seriously.”
“If I were to go to prison for a year, which is what the contempt of charge could do to me, that would be about a fourth of my remaining life,” Navarro said. Later in the interview, he told Melber he considers the executive privilege issues in his case to be extremely important. “This is why I’m fighting. This is why I’m willing to go to jail for this,” Navarro said.
Peter Navarro becomes the second person to be charged with criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with the Jan. 6 committee.
Steve Bannon, a former Trump White House adviser, was indicted in November after he refused to answer the House committee’s questions. He has pleaded not guilty and will go to trial next month.