Peter Navarro, a former White House trade adviser under President Donald Trump, has been convicted of contempt of Congress charges. The charges were filed after Navarro was accused of refusing to cooperate with a congressional investigation into the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Navarro, who later promoted Trump’s baseless claims of mass voter fraud in the 2020 election, was found guilty after a short trial.
Navarro is the second Trump aide to face contempt of Congress charges, following former White House adviser Steve Bannon. Bannon was convicted of two counts and sentenced to four months behind bars, although he remains free pending appeal.
Prosecutors argued that Navarro acted as if he were “above the law” when he defied a subpoena for documents and a deposition from the House January 6 committee. Navarro was charged with two misdemeanor counts of contempt of Congress, each punishable by up to a year in prison.
Navarro’s defense attorney argued that he did not ignore the congressional subpoena but instead directed committee staffers to contact Trump regarding the potential invocation of executive privilege. However, the judge ruled that Navarro’s executive privilege argument was not a defense against the charges, as there was no evidence presented that Trump had invoked it.
Prosecutors contended that much of the material sought by the committee was already publicly available and that Navarro should have provided what he could while flagging any questions or documents believed to be protected under executive privilege.
The House January 6 committee concluded its work in January, issuing a final report that accused Trump of criminally engaging in a “multi-part conspiracy” to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 election and failing to act to stop the attack on the Capitol by his supporters.
Trump himself currently faces a federal indictment in Washington, D.C., and a state indictment in Georgia over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. He has denied any wrongdoing and maintains that he was acting within the law.