Court Battles

Navarro lashes out at Jan. 6 investigations in court

Peter Navarro, the former White House trade adviser who was charged this week with contempt of Congress, was combative on Friday at his initial court appearance, lashing out at Congress and federal law enforcement following his arrest for defying a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

During the court hearing, Navarro insisted on representing himself as he faces two misdemeanor contempt counts and used the time to rail against the various investigators who have sought his testimony and records.

“Who are these people,” Navarro said. “This is not America. I mean, I was a distinguished public servant for four years and nobody ever questioned my ethics. And they’re treating me in this fashion.”

Navarro said he was arrested as he was boarding a plane to Nashville on Friday on his way to make a television appearance. He accused federal law enforcement of “prosecutorial misconduct” for the way he was taken into custody.

“There are bigger things at play than whether I go to prison,” he said. “And that’s why I’m standing here.”

Navarro, who for four years advised former President Trump on trade policy, faces up to a year in jail and $100,000 in fines on the two counts of contempt of Congress.

He had refused to comply with a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 select committee that was issued in February, and earlier this week he filed a civil suit against the panel challenging their authority to issue the demands.

In his civil complaint, Navarro revealed he also received a grand jury subpoena as part of the Justice Department’s own Jan. 6 investigation.

The agency is seeking “any communications with former President Trump and/or his counsel or representatives,” according to a copy of the subpoena that was obtained by The Guardian.

Criminal defendants are typically advised against representing themselves due in part to the complex legal and procedural issues at play, but Navarro said Friday that he doesn’t want to “spend his retirement savings on lawyers.”

Federal Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui also advised him that he could be at risk of incriminating himself with his comments in court.

“There’s a lot of attention upon you in this case,” Faruqui said. “Every time you speak just remember it could be something that’s used against you in court. It’s difficult, I’m sure, because you want for people to see that not only presume this, but the reasons why you are innocent. Every time that you’re speaking, it could mean potentially putting yourself at risk.”

Tags Donald Trump jan. 6 Peter Navarro Peter Navarro Trump

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