Former Trump White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Wednesday accused the Justice Department of demonstrating a “selective animus” towards him as he asked a federal judge to dismiss the criminal contempt of Congress case against him.
Nazvarro was held in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with the Jan. 6 Select Committee’s subpoena.
Navarro made the dismissal request in a motion filed late Wednesday evening. In the filing, Navarro characterized the charges as a political move by the DOJ, arguing that Justice Department policy says that presidential advisers are shielded from congressional testimony, even after the President leaves office.
“A prosecution for Contempt of Congress following a legitimate assertion of Executive Privilege precluding Dr. Navarro’s appearance before the Select Committee, the prosecution of Dr. Navarro for contempt of Congress necessarily violates the doctrine of Separation of Powers and is unconstitutional,” the filing said.
Navarro goes on to reiterate grievances that have been repeatedly raised by Trumpworld figures, arguing the makeup of the Jan. 6 Select Committee — with just two Republicans — is illegitimate. That, of course, ignores the fact that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) ensured that the committee wouldn’t be evenly split when he pulled his nominees from consideration.
Navarro then argues that the DOJ showed a “selective animus” towards him, saying the government handled his arrest “very differently from other cases.” The filing notes that a day after a federal grand jury in D.C. returned its indictment against him, FBI agents arrested Navarro as he boarded a flight to Tennessee at Reagan National Airport.
“The Government’s refusal to allow Dr. Navarro to self-report to court after being charged with two non-violent misdemeanors is indeed unusual and demonstrates a selective animus towards him by the Government officials responsible for the decisions made in this case,” the filing said. The DOJ argued against those allegations earlier this week.
The court is scheduled to hear arguments on Navarro’s motion next month.
Navarro was indicted on two counts of contempt by a federal grand jury in June, to which he pleaded not guilty. Navarro’s lawyers at the time attempted to delay his trial date to next year to give him time to promote his new book. Judge Amit P. Mehta of the Washington, D.C. District Court rejected the request.
Earlier this month, the DOJ filed a civil lawsuit against Navarro to force him to turn over White House records on his personal email account, which he allegedly failed to do at the end of Trump’s term.
Former Trump advisor Steve Bannon, who was convicted last month on two counts of contempt of Congress after a jury trial in Washington, D.C., issued similar arguments of executive privilege as part of his fruitless efforts to get his case dismissed. Bannon, however, was not at the White House at the time of the Capitol insurrection, unlike Navarro.