Ex-Trump aide Peter Navarro indicted for defying Capitol attack panel




  • In US
  • 2022-06-03 17:38:44Z
  • By The Guardian
Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP
Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP  

Peter Navarro, a top former White House adviser to Donald Trump, was taken into custody after being indicted by a federal grand jury on Friday on two counts of contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena issued by the House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack.

The indictment against Navarro marks the first time that the justice department has pursued charges against a Trump White House official who worked in the administration on January 6 and participated in efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

Navarro is facing one count of contempt of Congress for his refusal to appear at a deposition and a second count for his refusal to turn over documents as demanded by the select committee's subpoena, the justice department announced in a news release.

Navarro is next expected to appear before Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui in the US district court for the District of Columbia after being taken into custody, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Navarro's indictment comes just weeks after the full House of Representatives voted to hold him in criminal contempt of Congress for entirely defying the select committee's subpoena, issued in February, demanding documents and testimony in the January 6 inquiry.

The indictment is the latest twist in a series of developments surrounding Navarro's position in the crosshairs of congressional and justice department investigators, who last week served him with a grand jury subpoena demanding his communications with Trump.

In an attempt to block the justice department from prosecuting the contempt of Congress referral and to somehow invalidate the grand jury subpoena, Navarro on Tuesday filed a last-ditch, 88-page lawsuit seeking an injunction from a federal judge.

It was not clear whether that grand jury subpoena - which also demanded records requested in the select committee subpoena - came as part of the contempt of Congress case, or whether he was being treated as a witness in a separate criminal investigation into the former president.

But a potential benefit for the justice department is that through this indictment, it may be able to obtain those communications with Trump, according to a former assistant US attorney who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

But in an attempt to block the justice department from prosecuting the contempt of Congress referral and to somehow invalidate the grand jury subpoena, Navarro on Tuesday filed a last-ditch, 88-page lawsuit seeking an injunction from a federal judge.

The status of the lawsuit is currently unclear and it was not clear whether the filing led the justice department to request Navarro's indictment and arrest warrant will be placed under seal until the warrant was executed on Friday morning in Washington DC.

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