Navarro served in the Trump administration as the assistant to the president, director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, and the national Defense Production Act policy coordinator. In a recent court filing, he said he was served by FBI agents at his home in Washington, D.C. last week.
From the filing: “On May 26, 2022, two FBI special agents banged loudly on my door in the early morning hours to present me with a fruit of the poisonous tree Grand Jury Subpoena … commanding me to comply with the original … subpoena issued to me by the Committee dated February 9, 2022.”
According to Navarro’s filing — which argues that he has “absolute testimonial immunity as a senior White House official” and should therefore not be required to submit testimony nor documents — the subpoena seeks his communications with former President Donald Trump “and/or his counsel or representative.”
The Associated Press notes that Navarro’s subpoena marks the first known instance of DOJ prosecutors seeking testimony from someone who worked in the Trump White House as part of the investigation into the Capitol riot.
In April, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to hold Navarro and fellow former Trump official Dan Scavino in contempt of Congress, after the two failed to comply with congressional subpoenas for records and testimony related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
The 220-203 vote in favor of holding the two men in contempt resulted in the criminal referrals to the Justice Department.
Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson has argued that Scavino and Navarro “played a key role in the ex-President’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.”
In a March meeting, Republican Liz Cheney said Navarro had “written a book boasting about his role in planning and coordinating the activity of January 6th, and yet, he does not have the courage to testify here.”
Both men have argued that the information requested by the committee is shielded by executive privilege and in a statement sent to media outlets including ABC News, Navarro said the bipartisan committee was engaged in a “witch hunt” predicated on a “ridiculous legal premise.”
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In December, the House voted to hold Trump’s former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress, also for refusing to testify to investigators. The Justice Department has not yet taken action on that referral.
Last November, the Justice Department announced that another Trump ally — Steve Bannon — had been indicted by a federal grand jury on contempt of Congress charges. Like Navarro and Scavino, Bannon had failed to comply with a subpoena issued by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. His trial is set to begin later this year.