“On May 26, 2022, two FBI special agents banged loudly on my door in the early morning hours to present me with a fruit of the poisonous tree,” a grand jury subpoena “commanding me to comply with the original… subpoena issued to me by the Committee dated February 9, 10 2022, ” Navarro said in the 88-page complaint.
Navarro’s case was randomly assigned to US District Judge Randolph D. Moss, a 2014 Obama appointee who served in the Clinton Justice Department from 1996 to 2001, including as head of the Office of Legal Counsel, which provides legal advice to the executive branch on such matters as executive privilege claims.
The Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed Navarro in February seeking records and testimony from the former trade adviser, who has written and publicly discussed the effort to develop a strategy to delay or overturn certification of the 2020 election.
Navarro responded at the time with a statement rejecting the request and the committee’s legitimacy and blaming Pelosi, among others, for the violence that occurred Jan. 6, 2021. He argued that Trump “has invoked Executive Privilege; and it is not my privilege to waive. ”
The House then voted in April to hold Navarro and former White House communications chief Daniel Scavino Jr. in contempt of Congress, leading to criminal referrals to the Justice Department, which has the power to charge the two former officials with misdemeanors that can result in up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $ 100,000.
The pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was trying to stop the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s election win. The attack resulted in the deaths of five people and injuries to about 140 members of law enforcement.
Navarro is among several Trump advisers who have been subpoenaed by the select committee and are seeking to avoid testifying by citing Trump’s claim of executive privilege. The panel has also issued subpoenas to five House Republicans, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.).
Two other former senior White House aides have raised executive privilege claims in pending cases before a federal judge in Washington.
Like Navarro, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has sued the House Jan. 6 committee after receiving a subpoena. Former Trump strategist Stephen K. Bannon has moved to toss charges of criminal contempt of Congress after refusing to appear before the committee.
Both cases are before U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols, a 2019 Trump appointee who served in George W. Bush’s Justice Department from 2005 to 2009, including as principal deputy assistant attorney general in the civil division.
In a February letter accompanying the original Navarro subpoena, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), Chairman of the select committee, cited news reports that the former Trump trade adviser “worked with Steve Bannon and others to develop and implement a plan to delay Congress’ certification of, and ultimately change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. ”
The letter also cited Navarro’s recent book, in which he detailed a plan he called “The Green Bay Sweep,” which he described as the “last best chance to snatch a stolen election from the Democrats’ jaws of deceit.” The subpoena also described a Navarro report released online that repeated “many claims of purported fraud in the election that have been discredited.”
Navarro said in his lawsuit against Pelosi and the committee that he was directed to testify before a grand jury June 2 and present “[a]ll documents relating to the subpoena dated February 9, 2022 ”that he received from the committee,“ including but not limited to any communications with formal President Trump and / or his counsel or representative. ”
“As demonstrated in this letter, the executive privilege invoked by President Trump is not mine or Joe Biden’s to waive,” Navarro maintained. “Rather, as with the Committee, the U.S. Attorney has constitutional and due process obligations to negotiate my appearance before [the grand jury] not with me but rather with President Trump and his attorneys and I am bound by privilege to fail to comply with this Grand Jury Subpoena absent these negotiations and guidance from President Trump. ”
Jacqueline Alemany and Tom Hamburger contributed to this report.