National Security

Peter Navarro says FBI agents served him subpoena over Jan. 6

Former Trump adviser Peter Navarro says in a draft lawsuit that FBI agents served him a subpoena last week asking him to testify before a grand jury on Thursday over the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.  

“On May 26, 2022, two FBI special agents banged loudly on my door in the early morning hours to present me with a fruit of the poisonous tree Grand Jury Subpoena commanding me to comply with the original … illegal and unenforceable subpoena issued to me by the Committee dated February 9, 2022,” Navarro writes, according to a copy of the lawsuit posted online.

Navarro has thus far refused to comply with the subpoena issued by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, despite a vote in the House last month to hold him in contempt of Congress.

Navarro said the latest subpoena was signed by U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., Matthew Graves, seeking all documents requested by the Jan. 6 committee, as well as “any communications” with Trump or his lawyers and representatives. 

His lawsuit opposing the subpoena, which Politico reports he plans to file on Tuesday, lists Graves, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and members of the Jan. 6 committee as defendants. 

The New York Times also reported on the draft lawsuit Monday night, noting that Navarro plans to represent himself in the case. Asked if he would testify on Thursday, he told the Times “T.B.D.”

Navarro has asserted executive privilege in ignoring the initial subpoena from the House committee. He argues in the draft lawsuit that the U.S. attorney’s subpoena is “derivative of the fruit of the poison tree,” referring to the House subpoena. 

Graves’s office declined to comment.

The Hill has reached out to the Department of Justice for comment. Navarro couldn’t be reached on Monday.  

Courts have largely supported the Jan. 6 committee’s authority to obtain records and testimony, with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding a subpoena from the panel for Trump administration records, as President Biden had waived executive privilege.

Navarro told USA Today that he was representing himself to avoid the cost of hiring lawyers, and because he had some experience writing for law journals. 

“The Trump case, reasoned poorly and decided by an Obama judge, addresses only a small subset of the issues I raise in my lawsuit,” Navarro reportedly told the outlet. 

The subpoena would represent the latest sign that the Department of Justice’s own investigation into the Jan. 6 attack has moved well beyond the pro-Trump rioters who stormed the Capitol to include figures in Trump’s orbit who allegedly helped plan related rallies and efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. 

The Times reported that it was the first such subpoena known to have been issued to a former White House official. 

The House voted last month to hold Navarro and Dan Scavino, another Trump adviser, in contempt of Congress for defying subpoenas from the Jan. 6 panel, voting almost entirely along party lines. Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), the two Republicans serving on the committee, were the only members of their party to back the resolution.

Navarro was subpoenaed by the committee in February after passages from his own book appeared to show he was involved in plans to delay certification of the presidential election.

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the Jan. 6 committee, said at the time that Navarro and Scavino “have blown us off completely.”

“If 90 percent of success in life is just showing up, then 90 percent of acting in contempt of Congress is not showing up by failing to respond to multiple subpoenas you’ve been lawfully served,” he said.

“The rest of contempt is not turning over documents you’ve been ordered to produce and acting with open disregard and scorn for the rule of law, Congress and representatives of the American people.” 

–Updated on May 31 at 10:24 a.m.

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