Another select committee witness, Steve Bannon, was held in contempt last year for refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena. He did not receive a grand jury subpoena until his charges were filed.
Navarro, who is unrepresented by an attorney, said he intended to file his proposed lawsuit, an 88-page complaint that lists Graves, the select committee and chairwoman Nancy Pelosi among the defendants, on Tuesday. morning.
According to Navarro, the grand jury subpoena orders him to appear for testimony on June 2 and to produce any documents that would shed light on his refusal to testify before congressional investigators in February. The request for documents, he says, includes records of any contact he had with Trump or the former president’s attorneys.
A grand jury subpoena for Navarro would be the most aggressive known step prosecutors have taken in Trump’s Jan. 6 West Wing. There have long been indications, however, that federal prosecutors have been laying the groundwork for a broader probe into the Trump circle to examine their role in trying to overturn the 2020 election results — and stoking the violence that followed the January 6, 2021.
Ali Alexander, the founder of the Stop the Steal group which organized events leading up to the mob attack on the Capitol that day, said last month he received a subpoena to appear before a grand jury. And there are indications that prosecutors are continuing efforts by Trump and his allies to send fake sets of presidential voters to Congress, part of a multi-faceted plan to convince state legislatures, congressional Republicans and then-Vice President Mike Pence to void the election.
Navarro refused to comply with the select committee in February, responding by email with the words “executive privilege” and telling them he was operating without a lawyer. In email exchanges over several weeks, Navarro repeatedly urged the committee to negotiate with Trump and convince him to “give up” executive privilege.
The select committee responded that it had no evidence that Trump had claimed privileges to prevent Navarro’s testimony or the production of documents, and they said he was still required to appear and could do assert the privilege on a question-by-question basis. The panel also informed Navarro that they would be pursuing matters that they believed would not be subject to any claims of privilege by the former president. Navarro has always refused to appear.
Waiting, Navarro issued several public statements and gave media interviews on the same topics he declined to discuss with the select committee. Ultimately, he refused to appear for his scheduled deposition in early March.
The House contempt recommendation against Navarro has been pending at the DOJ since early April. The department took less than three weeks to charge Bannon with contempt, but has given no public indication of how it views subsequent dismissals for contempt from the select committee, including those of Navarro, Scavino and the former Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows.
Navarro was one of the first White House officials to openly embrace Trump’s campaign to delegitimize the election results. Although he was also tasked with playing a role in the administration’s Covid response, he used the post-election period to produce a report echoing Trump’s false allegations of fraud, which Trump quickly praised and started quoting.
Later, Navarro and Bannon teamed up to devise a strategy to overturn the January 6 election, dubbing it the “Green Bay sweep.” Navarro, who wrote about it in his book, “In Trump Time,” says he coordinated with many GOP lawmakers to oppose the election results that day, when Congress was constitutionally required to count the electoral votes and thus finalize the victory of Joe Biden. .
Navarro devotes the bulk of his complaint to asserting that Trump’s assertion of executive privilege over former advisers should outweigh Biden’s decision, as sitting president, to waive it. It has become a familiar argument in lawsuits by Trump allies against the select committee, including Bannon, Meadows and Scavino.
However, a federal appeals court ruled in January that even if Trump was still in office, the investigation into the attack on the Capitol — and Trump’s parallel effort to void the election — would overcome the privilege of the President. executive for documents related to this investigation. The Supreme Court upheld this decision.
Navarro says if the select committee succeeds in overcoming Trump’s privilege claims, “just imagine what will happen to Joe Biden and his advisers if the Republicans win both the White House and the House in 2024.”
“In fact, I don’t need to imagine this repetition of the strategic game,” writes Navarro. “If I’m not dead or in jail, I’ll lead the charge.”
The select committee noted that even in cases where potential privileges exist, witnesses are still generally required to appear and invoke them, and to answer matters that are not covered by the privilege – such as Navarro’s contacts with members of Congress, Bannon or other pre-Jan. 6 actors. Several witnesses have come forward and argued the Fifth Amendment under these circumstances, including attorney John Eastman, former senior Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and long-time confidant Trump date, Roger Stone.
Navarro said he considered pleading the Fifth, but considered it a “dishonorable” way to avoid criminal prosecution.
In his draft lawsuit, dated June 1, Navarro is asking the federal district court in Washington, D.C. to enjoin the Justice Department from “enforcing grand jury subpoena #GJ2022052590979,” a reference to the number official serial number of the summons. He describes it as “derived” from the assignment of the select committee.