Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Peter Navarro was jailed on January 6 for contempt of Congress

Peter Navarro, a former senior aide to President Donald Trump, returned to a Miami jail on Tuesday, a day after the Supreme Court refused to delay his prison term as he appealed his refusal to testify before Congress about his efforts. The 2020 presidential election should be cancelled.

Speaking to reporters before reporting to a federal prison at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, the 74-year-old economist said that by jailing him, the justice system had dealt “a crippling blow to the constitutional separation of powers and executive privilege.”

He insisted that he was protected from testifying before Congress, an often-cited but loosely defined legal protection designed to grant confidentiality to the president and top White House aides. publicly scrutinized.

Before entering prison, Navarro said he had done nothing wrong by ignoring a congressional subpoena and that his ultimate goal was to “protect the Constitution,” the separation of powers and executive privilege.

“I knew from day one, based on my experiences in the White House, from reading the memos from the Office of the Legal Counsel at the Justice Department, from receiving that subpoena, that there is absolute evidentiary immunity,” he said. Navarro later listed several top Trump administration aides — adviser Kellyanne Conway, adviser Donald McCain and Vice President Rick Dearborn — who “did exactly what I did and never got prosecuted.”

But — unlike those witnesses at the hearing on January 6, 2021, the attack on the U.S. Capitol and Russian interference – Navarro has no documents to show that Trump always planned to confirm the offer to keep his aide from testifying, and Trump has never publicly corroborated Navarro's account.

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“If I had gone to Congress and played piecemeal with them, I would have damaged the separation of powers, I would not have done my duty,” Navarro said. Prosecutors have said that even when executive privilege applies, a witness must respond to a subpoena and explain what specific testimony or documents they believe are off limits.

After the attack on the Capitol, Navarro published a book in which he described a plot to throw the election to Trump during the day's election vote count. He shared the idea with right-wing podcast host and former Trump strategist Stephen K. told Bannon.

When a special House committee investigating the attack issued subpoenas to Navarro and Bannon to detail the plans, both ignored them. Both now face prison terms for contempt of Congress. However, the district court judge handling Bannon's case allowed him to stay out of jail. He relied on the advice of his lawyer.

Chief Justice John G. Navarro's attorneys, who declined to comment Monday after Roberts Jr. issued his decision, argued that Navarro refused to comply with a congressional subpoena because he thought he was asserting executive privilege. They argued that the statute was unclear about whether Congress intended to punish senior presidential advisers in such circumstances.

Navarro was sentenced in January Four months later, a jury convicted him of two counts of contempt of Congress. Last week, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit He refused Navarro's request to be free. The three-judge panel said Navarro “has not shown that his appeal presents substantial questions of law or fact.” to quash his conviction or sentence.

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And on Monday, Roberts — who oversees emergency appeals from the D.C. Circuit — disagreed with the court's ruling, he said.

That means Navarro must return to prison by 2pm on Tuesday.

Before entering the facility, Navarro maintained that he was protected from testifying before the committee on January 6 because he was a close White House adviser to Trump.

“I am the first senior White House adviser in the history of our republic to be indicted on this charge,” Navarro said.

“For 50 years, the Department of Justice has maintained the principle of absolute witness immunity, and that somehow changed only in my case,” he said.

As a senior White House aide, Navarro argued that Congress could not compel him to testify because he was an “alter ego of the president” and was protected by executive privilege — first established by President George Washington in 1796. The J agreement protects close White House advisers from discussing conversations with the president.

Washington, however, argued for limited use of executive power, arguing that he would exercise it only during J treaty negotiations to protect national security and the country's ability to negotiate future international treaties.

Speaking outside prison, Navarro remained steadfast in his support for Trump, attacking President Biden's policies and urging others to vote for Trump in the November election.

“I'm not nervous,” Navarro said of going to jail. “I had tremendous support from Donald Trump and his team.”

Navarro – dressed in a black T-shirt and gray jacket – also complained at length about the Justice Department. He repeated baseless conspiracy theories that the January 6 attack was instigated by undercover FBI agents and Democrats.

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Navarro alleged that the Justice Department “put me there today with the same tactics, tools and strategies as Donald Trump,” citing several investigations Trump faces. The former president and his cronies have repeatedly baselessly claimed that the judiciary is armed against them.

“I'm angry,” Navarro said, adding that he's “scared for this country because what they're doing should have a chilling effect on every American, regardless of their party. They're coming for me; they're coming for you.”

Navarro has vowed to bring his case back to the Supreme Court after his sentence is over.

Ann E. Marimov contributed to this report.

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