Peter Navarro says he received grand jury subpoena in Jan. 6 investigation
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Washington — Peter Navarro, who served as a top White House trade adviser to former President Donald Trump, claimed Monday that he received a subpoena from the top federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., to testify before a grand jury and turn over documents related to the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.
Navarro revealed he received the grand jury subpoena in a draft lawsuit obtained by CBS News, which he said he officially filed with the federal district court in Washington on Tuesday. He names as defendants House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the members of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, and Matthew Graves, the U.S. attorney in Washington. The New York Times was the first to report Navarro received the grand jury subpoena.
The former Trump adviser claims that he received the subpoena in the “early morning hours” May 26, when two FBI agents “banged loudly” on the door of his home, according to his suit. The subpoena summons Navarro to testify before a grand jury on Thursday and turn over documents about the events leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection, including “any communications” with Trump.
Navarro argues the grand jury subpoena “pointedly ignored all claims of executive privilege and testimony immunity,” and is “unlawful and unenforceable.” He repeatedly refers to the subpoena as a “fruit of the poisonous tree” and is requesting a federal judge block its enforcement.
The House Select Committee examining the Jan. 6 attack and the events leading up to it first issued a subpoena to Navarro for records and testimony in early February. Investigators believe Navarro worked with Steve Bannon, a close ally of Trump’s and former White House adviser, and others to craft a plan to change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. The February request from the House committee also notes that in his book, Navarro described the plan as the “Green Bay Sweep” and wrote it was “the last, best chance to snatch a stolen election from the Democrats’ jaws of deceit.”
Navarro refused to comply with the select committee’s subpoena, and in April, the House voted to refer criminal contempt charges against him and former White House aide Dan Scavino to the Justice Department for failing to cooperate with the panel’s demand.
According to Navarro’s lawsuit, the grand jury subpoena commands him to comply with the separate subpoena issued by the House panel in February. But he challenges the legality of the original subpoena, claiming the select committee is “neither duly authorized nor properly constituted,” and the subpoena, together with the House resolution finding him in contempt of Congress, represents legislative acts “that violate the principle of separation of powers in their simultaneous and unlawful pursuit of a judicial function.”
Navarro goes on to argue the U.S. attorney in Washington must negotiate his appearance before the grand jury with Trump and his attorneys, as he is bound by executive privilege invoked by the former president over information related to the Jan. 6 assault.
Trump himself has sought to block the release of White House records related to the Jan. 6 insurrection from the National Archives and Records Administration, citing executive privilege. But in January, the Supreme Court rejected the former president’s request to withhold the materials.
President Biden has waived executive privilege over a slew of White House documents sought by the House select committee, but Navarro plans to ask the federal district court in Washington to declare the president does not have the legal authority to do so.
While Navarro claims there was an “abundance of fraud and election irregularities” in the 2020 presidential election, dozens of legal challenges to election results in key battleground states were rebuffed by federal judges. The Supreme Court also spurned efforts by Trump and his allies to reverse the outcome of the election.
While the Justice Department has charged more than 800 people for their roles in the Capitol assault, Attorney General Merrick Garland has come under pressure for not taking action against political leaders whose baseless claims of widespread voter fraud fomented the rioters who breached the Capitol building on Jan. 6 in hopes of stopping Congress from reaffirming Mr. Biden’s victory.
Garland, though, has vowed the Justice Department is committed to “holding all January 6th perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law — whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy.”
Sara Cook contributed to this report.