Peter Navarro, a longtime Trump ally who was among the many goons of the former president associated with efforts to stop Joe Biden from taking his rightful place as president, has been indicted by a federal grand jury. His charges include two counts of contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with the House committee investigating the Capitol riot.
Navarro is seemingly the second individual associated with the former president to be indicted for contempt of Congress over refusing to cooperate with the riot panel, which is holding its first installment in a new round of public hearings on June 9. Notably, Navarro served in an official role in the Trump administration at the time of the Capitol riot — Steve Bannon, the other Trump ally to face indictment for contempt of Congress in association with the House riot investigation, wasn’t in such a role on January 6 last year. Navarro’s official government position at the time of the riot is relevant because, as CNN notes, he’d previously “claimed that he was unable to cooperate because former President Donald Trump had asserted executive privilege in the matter.” But a federal role apparently wasn’t enough to boost those privilege claims to prosecutors’ satisfaction.
Navarro revealed ahead of the grand jury indictment coming out publicly that he’d been subpoenaed by the Justice Department, which was demanding items related to his choice not to comply with demands from the riot committee. The Justice Department subpoena sought “all documents relating to the subpoena dated February 9, 2022, that [Navarro] received from the House Select Committee to investigate the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, including but not limited to any communications with former President Trump and/or his counsel or representatives.” Presumably, such communications would — assuming they, in fact, exist — include discussions of executive privilege claims. The level of Navarro’s cooperation with the Justice Department’s subpoena is unclear. Meanwhile, Bannon is set to stand trial over his own contempt of Congress allegations in July.
Bannon also faces continued scrutiny from the Manhattan-area district attorney’s office, which is investigating a fraudulent fundraising effort called “We Build the Wall” in which he was involved. The notion was put out to donors that money donated to that attempt to crowdsource funds for a southern border wall would all actually go towards wall construction, but it didn’t — hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Bannon’s personal costs were covered by donor money. Then-President Donald Trump provided Bannon with a federal pardon related to federal charges covering the scheme — but presidential pardons don’t cover state-level matters, just federal ones. In New York, individuals associated with Bannon have been subpoenaed for testimony. Three other people hit with federal criminal charges over “We Build the Wall” never got a presidential pardon from Trump; two have pleaded guilty.