Court Gets Behind The Feds’ Quest To Go After The Trump Administration’s Internal Records

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A federal appeals court has rejected the latest arguments from Trump ally Peter Navarro in a dispute over records associated with his time in Donald Trump’s presidential employ, where Navarro worked as an economic adviser but eventually was also involved in Trump’s push against the 2020 presidential election’s results.

Navarro is currently in prison for a four-month stint after he was convicted of contempt of Congress over his rebuffing of the House committee that investigated the Capitol riot and various circumstances leading up to it. Navarro’s conviction was the second such conviction stemming from disputes over cooperation with the now defunct committee, although the other defendant — Steve Bannon — evidently has yet to serve any time in prison associated with his sentence.

In the documents matter, the dispute traces to Navarro using a non-governmental email account while in his official role but failing to comply with the standard of making messages involved in official business and on such an account available for preservation as mandated by law, particularly the Presidential Records Act. As first reported by The Washington Post, Navarro argued before the appeals judges who rejected his latest claims that the Justice Department doesn’t even hold the relevant enforcement powers to pursue a claimed rectification of alleged Presidential Records Act violations.

“If Navarro were correct, the statute would leave the United States with no ability to retrieve Presidential records from employees if they refuse to return Presidential records after being disciplined or exiting federal employment,” the judges said, as highlighted by the same news publication. The judge whose conclusions Navarro challenged at the appeals level argued that it was “clear that Defendant continues to possess Presidential records that have not been produced to their rightful owner,” pushing for still additional hand-offs.

Trump himself is still facing his own criminal case accusing him of the mishandling of government records — specifically, caches of files recovered from his Florida resort Mar-a-Lago. The government alleges that Trump did not possess necessary legal authorities to harbor the documents and then refuse federal pushes for their return.