Peter Navarro asks court to dismiss contempt case against him

Peter Navarro, adviser to former US President Donald Trump, with his lawyer John Rowley at his side, speaks to reporters at the US District Court in Washington, on August 11, 2022.

CNN  — 

Former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro asked a federal judge to dismiss the criminal contempt of Congress case that was brought against him after he did not comply with a House January 6 Committee subpoena.

In the motion filed late Wednesday evening, Navarro argued that the Justice Department’s move to bring the charges against him was “in direct contradiction of decades of Department of Justice policy and precedent.” He pointed to the Justice Department policy that said that advisers to the President were shielded from congressional demands for testimony and claimed that that “immunity continues even after the tenure of a particular advisor to the President.”

Navarro argued that he had “been unfairly caught in a dispute between the executive and legislative branches of our government and placed on the horns of a dilemma: follow the explicit instructions from the President he served as a senior advisor for four years, or risk being held in Contempt of Congress and criminally prosecuted by the Department of Justice.”

“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,” his filing said.

Additionally, there is an almost completely redacted section in the filing, under a subhead that said, “The Government’s Presentation To The Grand Jury Underscores The Unusual Way the Department Has Approached this Prosecution.”

Like other witnesses who have also not cooperated with House January 6 Committee, Navarro is also raising arguments alleging that there were procedural flaws in how the committee was assembled. Navarro claims as well that he is being selectively prosecuted, as his filing pointed to the DOJ’s decision not to bring prosecutions against other Trump White House aides who were referred to the department by the House for their lack of compliance with committee subpoenas.

Ex-Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who was convicted by a jury of contempt last month, made similar arguments in his unsuccessful bid to get the case against him dismissed. Unlike Bannon, Navarro was still at the White House during the period the House committee is investigating, and Navarro’s lawyers have claimed that their clients’ situation is very different than Bannon’s.

The Wednesday night filing also reiterated Navarro’s allegations that the DOJ’s decision to arrest him at an airport – rather than let him self-report – shows a “selective animus” towards him by the government.

In a court filing earlier this week, the Justice Department pushed back on those allegations and said it was “not law enforcement’s normal practice to ask combative, unrepresented subjects to self-surrender.”

“And only a few days before, when the case agents attempted to interview him and serve him with a subpoena at his residence, the Defendant at first refused to open the door and then, when he did, told the agents to ‘get the f*** out of here,’” the Justice Department said in the earlier filing.

The court is scheduled to hear arguments on Navarro’s motion on September 23.