07 September 2023

Trump White House official Navarro convicted of contempt after defying subpoena

07 September 2023

Trump White House official Peter Navarro has been convicted of contempt of Congress charges filed after he was accused of refusing to cooperate with a congressional investigation into the US Capitol riot in Washington DC.

The verdict came after a short trial for Navarro, who served as a White House trade adviser under Donald Trump and later promoted the Republican’s baseless claims of mass voter fraud in the 2020 election he lost.

Navarro was the second Trump aide to face contempt of Congress charges after former White House adviser Steve Bannon. Bannon was convicted of two counts and was sentenced to four months behind bars, though he has been free pending appeal.

Prosecutors said Navarro acted as if he were “above the law” when he defied a subpoena for documents and a deposition from the House January 6 committee.

He was charged with two misdemeanour counts of contempt of Congress, both punishable by up to a year behind bars.

A defence attorney argued Navarro did not ignore the congressional subpoena but instead told committee staffers to contact Mr Trump about what material might be covered by executive privilege, something they did not do.

US District Judge Amit Mehta ruled Navarro’s executive privilege argument was not a defence against the charges, finding that Navarro had not shown evidence Mr Trump invoked it.

Prosecutors said that much of the material the committee sought was already publicly available and that Navarro should have handed over what he could and flagged any questions or documents believed to be protected under executive privilege.

Mr Trump faces a federal indictment in Washington DC, and a state indictment in Georgia over his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden, a Democrat. He has denied wrongdoing and has said he was acting within the law.

The House January 6 committee finished its work in January, after a final report that said Mr Trump criminally engaged in a “multi-part conspiracy” to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 election and failed to act to stop a mob of his supporters from attacking the Capitol.

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox