Navarro formally sues Jan. 6 committee, DOJ

Former Trump White House economic advisor Peter Navarro formally filed suit Tuesday against the Jan. 6 committee and the Department of Justice in a case where he will be acting as his own attorney.

The filing comes after Navarro released a draft of the suit Monday evening, revealing he has likewise been the subject of a grand jury subpoena by Matthew Graves, the U.S. Attorney for D.C.

According to Navarro, the latest subpoena from DOJ seeks largely the same set of materials as a February subpoena from the House committee investigating the attack, which asked about his communications with former President Trump as well as his work promoting his alleged claims of widespread election fraud.

Navarro said his lawsuit is mainly directed at the committee, but he included DOJ in his suit after being served the subpoena early Monday morning as he was finalizing his lawsuit.

“It is 99 percent aimed at the kangaroo committee that [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi (D-Calif.) formed. I drafted my lawsuit prior to any communication from the U.S. attorney. And just before I was going to file it I got this other subpoena so I just included that in the filing,” Navarro told The Hill.

The lawsuit lays out similar arguments as others that have challenged the committee, including a focus on its composition and reiterates Navarro’s earlier claims that as a former White House employee he cannot be called to testify. Trump has not asserted executive privilege with respect to Navarro. 

The full House voted to hold Navarro in contempt in April after he failed to comply with the committee’s subpoena. DOJ, however, has yet to take any action on their referral, which could carry up to two years in prison and a $200,000 fine. 

According to Navarro, Monday’s grand jury subpoena from DOJ asks him to turn over documents by Thursday, something he said he is not yet sure he will do. 

“I’m not commanded to testify, I’m just commanded to produce documents,” Navarro said.

Navarro has detailed some of his efforts to aide Trump publicly, both in a book and in a three-part series on his website, dubbed the Navarro Report, which claims to “provide a demonstration that President Trump had a good faith belief that the November 3, 2020 Presidential election results, were, indeed, the poisonous fruit of widespread fraud and election irregularities.” 

The subpoena is the latest sign that DOJ may be expanding its investigation beyond those who entered the building to those with a more direct connection to Trump. It’s already signaled interest in those who helped plan the rally that preceded the attack, Trump’s legal team for the campaign and a broader campaign to send alternate electors in swing states to shift the electoral college in favor of the former president.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C. declined to comment.

Navarro is not an attorney and his suit will be the first defendant-led challenge to the committee.

“I think the brief speaks for itself,” he said. “It’s written in the genre of the law. I have case law to support my arguments drawing on the constitution and U.S. civil statutes. And I’m right. There’s no question I’m right.” 

“The whole idea of executive privilege and testimonial immunity is to provide an environment where senior advisors like myself can offer advice to the president and among other advisors without concern of the candor being revealed to the broader public,” Navarro added.

Navarro also criticized House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) – who himself is now resisting a subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee – for not doing more to counter the committee when it was first formed.

“The failure of McCarthy to challenge the committee at the outset on the fact that the committee is not duly authorized or properly constituted was either stupid or clever. Stupid, because he could and should have shut that committee down immediately and had the law on his side; clever, perhaps, because he wanted to establish precedent that it’s perfectly legal for partisan congressional committees to ignore the rules…and subpoena anyone they want in anticipation of winning back the House in 2022,” he said.

“Either way I think it was a huge strategic error not to do then what I’ve done now, which is challenge that committee.”