In a new move, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered a former Donald Trump adviser to turn over some of the ex-staffer’s emails originating with a private account. The federal judge directed Peter Navarro to provide emails to the Department of Justice (DOJ) from the period the aide served in the previous administration. U.S. District Judge Kollar-Kotelly thereby delivered the DOJ a win.
The DOJ filed a civil lawsuit against Navarro to obtain these messages. They were encrypted but not copied to Navarro’s White House account, according to NBC News. “In December 2021, the National Archives became aware that Navarro had used a personal account with ProtonMail, an encrypted email service, to send and receive official emails while serving as an adviser to the president, the Justice Department said in its lawsuit,” as NBC explained. “Navarro did not copy his official White House account on the email exchanges, nor did he forward the email chains to his White House account, a violation of the Presidential Records Act, the department said.” Having done so would assist with preserving these materials subject to those documentation requirements.
The judge declared that these emails were located in a personal email account but fell under the Presidential Records Act. Kollar-Kotelly ordered the emails to be given to the DOJ right away, CNN reported. The total is 200 or above.
“It bears note that under the PRA Dr. Navarro’s obligation to copy from or forward from his personal account to the official account was ‘no later than’ twenty (20) days after the original creation or transmission,” she observed. “Plainly, he did neither during his tenure in the White House, nor has he forwarded Presidential record emails in the years since.”
The DOJ noted the National Archives discovered missing emails were on the ex-advisor’s personal account in connection to a House investigation into Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The defendant’s key argument was that releasing his emails would infringe upon his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination because of a supposed threat of prosecutors gathering evidence in connection to a separate contempt case against him. Navarro’s legal defense also made other arguments.
However, the trade adviser from the Trump White House was forced to provide emails numbering between 200 and 250. The National Archives and Records Administration gave Navarro’s attorneys key search terms in order to locate the emails over six months ago.
Kollar-Kotelly told Navarro to meet with the DOJ to agree upon a plan of action to identify and return any other emails that fell under the Presidential Records Act within 30 days, besides also ordering “a status report to be filed by seven days after the parties meet,” CNN reported.
As for the contempt case, Navarro “has been ordered to stand trial on criminal contempt of Congress charges for refusing to cooperate with the Jan. 6 committee after a judge denied his bid to delay the proceedings so he could promote his new book,” as NBC explained, although it’s not happening yet. In that case, the aide pled not guilty.
Gloria Christie is a political journalist for the liberal online newspaper The Bipartisan Report. Find her here on Facebook. Or at Three White Lions, her book written in her own unique style with a twist of humor on Amazon Kindle Vella and the Gloria Christie Three White Lions podcast on Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music, etc. Christie’s Mueller Report Adventures In Bite-Sizes a real-life compelling spy mystery (in progress).