Peter Navarro, the former Trump trade adviser who has spoken openly about his plans to overturn the 2020 election, was arrested on Friday on charges of contempt of Congress.
The indictment came down on Friday as Navarro has refused to cooperate with the Jan. 6 committee. The committee voted in March to hold Navarro — along with former Trump communications aide Dan Scavino Jr. — in contempt for failing to comply with subpoenas. The House of Representatives voted in April to refer the matter to the Justice Department. The two contempt charges filed on Friday each carry a maximum sentence of a year in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000. Justice Department officials also announced that they declined to charge Scavino and former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, despite both’s refusal to cooperate with Jan. 6 investigators.
Navarro reportedly made a series of wild accusations during a court appearance on Friday, claiming the government is guilty of “prosecutorial misconduct” and that the Jan. 6 committee is “working in collusion” with the White House. “This is not the way that America is supposed to function,” Navarro said of his arrest, which he says took place at an airport. “No American should be treated the way these people treated me today.”
Navarro had a meltdown after leaving court on Friday, complaining that being handcuffed after being charged with a crime is in violation of the Constitution. “It’s terrorism,” he added before likening his arrest to what happens in “Stalinist Russia.”
A fuming Peter Navarro complains about being handcuffed, shackled, and put in John Hinckley’s old cell. “What they did to me today violates the Constitution!” pic.twitter.com/5sSdWGxfRH
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) June 3, 2022
Navarro has long claimed executive privilege precludes him from testifying, noting his time working in the White House. Others have made similar claims, to little avail. “They’re not fooling anybody,” Jan. 6 committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said of Navarro and Scavino in March. “They are obligated to comply with our investigation. They have refused to do so. And that’s a crime.”
Navarro also alleged on Friday that the indictment is a “preemptive strike” following a lawsuit he filed against the Jan. 6 committee earlier this week. Navarro alleges in the suit that the panel is abusing its power and that he shouldn’t have to comply with their subpoena. He also writes that he will “lead the charge” if he’s “not dead or in prison” to subpoena Democratic leaders if Republicans win the 2024 election. He discussed the filing during a heated interview with MSNBC’s Ari Melber on Thursday.
“You bet your ass I will lead the charge,” he told Melber before listing several Democrats he plans to go after. “We’ll start with the impeachment of Biden,” he said, citing the president’s handling Ukraine and the U.S.-Mexico border. “We’ll subpoena his senior staff.”
"You're pledging abuse of power," @AriMelber says to former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro. "You're saying we have to 'put a stop' to the thing you're pledging to do with your return to power." https://t.co/wt2QLvJbFY pic.twitter.com/d3O1byZ59u
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) June 3, 2022
Navarro then claimed that George Washington would be on his side in his lawsuit against the Jan. 6 committee.
Navarro has long been open, often shockingly so, about his role in the plot to overturn the results of the 2020 election. He published a memoir last year and has done several interviews detailing the “Green Bay Sweep” plan he says he concocted with former Trump adviser Steve Bannon. (Bannon was charged with contempt of Congress last November).
Navarro’s “Green Bay Sweep” plan sought to keep Trump in office by having Vice President Mike Pence delay the certification of the Electoral College so that Congress and state legislatures would have more time to pursue fraud allegations. “My premise — which is fact — is that President Trump wanted only peace and calm so that we could meticulously implement the Green Bay Packers Sweep play, and thereby remand the votes to the back to the states, and in all likelihood, then move the election into the House of Representatives, because of the substantial fraud that was visible,” he told Rolling Stone in January.
Navarro revealed in his lawsuit against the Jan. 6 committee earlier this week that he has also received a subpoena from the Justice Department, which is conducting its own investigation into the attack on the Capitol. The subpoena asked Navarro to provide material pertaining to Jan. 6, including “any communications” he had with the former president.