A federal grand jury on Friday indicted Peter Navarro, a White Home adviser to former President Donald J. Trump, for failing to adjust to a subpoena from the Home committee investigating the Capitol assault, even because the Justice Division declined to cost Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino Jr., two different high officers who’ve additionally refused to cooperate.
The indictment towards Mr. Navarro, handed up in Federal District Court docket in Washington, marked the primary time that an official who served in Mr. Trump’s White Home throughout the occasions of Jan. 6, 2021, has been charged in reference to the investigation into the assault.
Prosecutors charged Mr. Navarro, 72, with what amounted to a misdemeanor course of crime for having failed to look for a deposition or present paperwork to congressional investigators in response to a subpoena issued by the Home committee on Feb. 9. The indictment contains two counts of felony contempt of Congress that every carry a most sentence of a yr in jail, in addition to a high-quality of as much as $100,000.
The Justice Division has declined to take related steps towards Mr. Meadows, Mr. Trump’s ultimate chief of employees, and Mr. Scavino, the deputy chief of employees, in response to folks acquainted with prosecutors’ resolution and a letter reviewed by The New York Occasions informing the highest Home counsel of it.
“Primarily based on the person information and circumstances of their alleged contempt, my workplace won’t be initiating prosecutions for felony contempt as requested within the referral towards Messrs. Meadows and Scavino,” Matthew M. Graves, the U.S. lawyer for the District of Columbia, wrote to Douglas N. Letter, the final counsel of the Home, on Friday. “My workplace’s assessment of every of the contempt referrals arising from the Jan. 6 committee’s investigation is full.”
Each Mr. Meadows and Mr. Scavino — who have been deeply concerned within the effort to overturn the 2020 election — engaged in weeks of negotiations with the committee’s attorneys, and Mr. Meadows turned over greater than 9,000 paperwork to the panel, earlier than the Home voted to cost them with contempt.
Against this, Mr. Navarro and his ally Stephen Okay. Bannon, who has additionally been charged with contempt, fought the committee’s subpoenas from Day 1 and by no means entered into negotiations.
Requested for remark, Mr. Meadows’s lawyer, George J. Terwilliger III, stated, “The end result speaks for itself.”
A spokesman for the Justice Division didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. A lawyer for Mr. Scavino declined to remark.
In a press release, the leaders of the committee applauded Mr. Navarro’s indictment however urged the Justice Division to offer “larger readability” on its rationale for not charging Mr. Meadows or Mr. Scavino.
“We discover the choice to reward Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino for his or her continued assault on the rule of legislation puzzling,” stated the leaders, Representatives Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi, and Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming. “Mr. Meadows and Mr. Scavino unquestionably have related data about President Trump’s position within the efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the occasions of Jan. 6.”
For his half, Mr. Navarro appeared in courtroom on Friday afternoon, talking on his personal behalf and telling a federal Justice of the Peace decide that the congressional subpoena he was served with was “unlawful” and “unenforceable.”
On the courtroom listening to, he solid himself as a sufferer of an unfair system run by Democrats bent on destroying him and Mr. Trump.
“There are larger issues at play than whether or not I’m going to jail,” Mr. Navarro stated. “And that’s why I’m standing right here.”
He additionally complained that though he lives near F.B.I. headquarters, federal brokers arrested him on the door of an airplane as he was on his option to Nashville.
“This isn’t the best way that America is meant to operate,” he went on, including, “They’re taking part in hardball.”
A former White Home commerce adviser who undertook intensive efforts to maintain Mr. Trump in workplace after the 2020 election, Mr. Navarro is the second high-ranking former presidential aide to be charged with contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the committee. Mr. Bannon, a former high aide to Mr. Trump, was indicted in November on related expenses.
The indictment towards Mr. Navarro got here practically two months after the Home voted largely alongside occasion strains to advocate felony expenses towards him. The identical vote additionally really helpful a contempt indictment towards Mr. Scavino.
The Home voted in January to advocate that Mr. Meadows be charged with contempt.
“Upon receiving every referral, my workplace carried out a radical investigation and evaluation of the individualized information and circumstances surrounding every contempt allegation to find out whether or not to provoke a felony prosecution,” Mr. Graves wrote to Mr. Letter. “These investigations and analyses have been carried out by and supervised by skilled prosecutors. Every referral has been analyzed individually primarily based on the information and circumstances of the alleged contempt developed by my workplace’s investigation.”
The Home subpoena that Mr. Navarro obtained sought paperwork and testimony about an effort to overturn the election that he had billed because the “Inexperienced Bay Sweep.” The plan referred to as for lawmakers in key swing states to group with Republican members of Congress and Vice President Mike Pence to reject the outcomes that confirmed Joseph R. Biden Jr. had received the election and provides Mr. Trump the victory.
The subpoena additionally talked about a name Mr. Navarro participated in with Mr. Trump and his attorneys on Jan. 2, 2021, wherein they tried to influence a whole lot of state lawmakers to hitch the trouble.
Mr. Navarro additionally wrote a 36-page report claiming election fraud as a part of what he referred to as an “immaculate deception” that he stated he made certain was distributed to Republican members of Congress.
There isn’t a proof of widespread fraud within the 2020 election, and the Jan. 6 committee has described the claims in Mr. Navarro’s report as having been “discredited in public reporting, by state officers and courts.”
The indictment comes days after Mr. Navarro filed a lawsuit towards the Home committee, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the U.S. lawyer for the District of Columbia, wherein he questioned the authority and validity of the inquiry.
Within the lawsuit, Mr. Navarro additionally revealed that he had just lately obtained one other subpoena, this one from a federal grand jury in Washington. That subpoena sought paperwork from him associated to any communications he might have had with Mr. Trump or his attorneys.
Mr. Navarro has claimed that as a result of Mr. Trump invoked government privilege to bar the disclosure of data requested by the Jan. 6 investigators, he’s prevented from complying with the subpoena. Prosecutors have been almost certainly excited by how carefully Mr. Navarro was in contact with the previous president or his attorneys with the intention to assess that protection towards the contempt of Congress cost.
“The chief privilege invoked by President Trump isn’t mine to waive,” Mr. Navarro has repeatedly stated.
Mr. Bannon has additionally sought to argue that he doesn’t should comply together with his personal subpoena due to Mr. Trump’s claims of government privilege. A trial in his case is tentatively scheduled for July.
Mr. Bannon is arguing that the committee isn’t a reputable investigative physique however a politically motivated one, citing the truth that two of its members have written books that presuppose who’s responsible for the Capitol riot though the inquiry has not ended.
Whereas contempt of Congress expenses are not often introduced, the instances filed towards Mr. Navarro and Mr. Bannon recommend that the Justice Division is keen to take a troublesome stance towards not less than a few of Mr. Trump’s former aides who’ve stonewalled the committee’s efforts.
The choice to not cost Mr. Meadows and Mr. Scavino signifies that there are limits to that strategy, notably with regards to high White Home officers who may extra plausibly argue that their communications with the president have been privileged.
The fees towards Mr. Navarro come at a politically delicate second: one week earlier than the committee is poised to start a collection of high-profile hearings on its findings.
Mr. Navarro has taken an aggressive stance towards the committee, particularly with regard to its Democratic members. In his lawsuit, he vowed payback towards Democrats ought to Republicans retake the White Home and Congress in 2024.
“If I’m not lifeless or in jail,” he wrote, “I’ll lead the cost.”
At his courtroom listening to, Mr. Navarro expressed related disdain for the authorized continuing.
A federal Justice of the Peace decide, Zia M. Faruqui, launched him from custody with an ordinary set of circumstances, largely easy restrictions on Mr. Navarro’s journey privileges, noting that he understood the defendant was pissed off by them.
Mr. Navarro rejected the concept he was pissed off.
“I’m, allow us to say, upset in our republic,” he declared.
Maggie Haberman contributed reporting.