WASHINGTON — A federal judge scheduled a Nov. 17 trial date for former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Friday in his contempt of Congress case.
Navarro appeared before U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta for arraignment on two misdemeanor counts of contempt of Congress for allegedly failing to turn over documents and appear in person before the January 6th Committee. Navarro is one of a number of Trump advisers who refused to testify before the committee, and was the second – after former senior adviser Steve Bannon – to be indicted by the Justice Department.
Earlier this month, the DOJ said it was declining to indict two other advisers, former chief of staff Mark Meadows and social media director Dan Scavino, on similar charges.
In a letter to Navarro accompanying the subpoenas in February, committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said Navarro had written in his book that he had “worked with Steve Bannon and others to develop and implement a plan to delay Congress’s certification of, and ultimately change the outcome of, the November 2020 presidential election.” The plan was reportedly referred to as the “Green Bay Sweep.”
Navarro pleaded not guilty to both counts Friday and requested a trial date sometime in 2023. His attorneys, John S. Irving and John P. Rowley, indicated they could pursue some of the same constitutional challenges to the committee and Navarro’s subpoena as Bannon, who is set to go to trial on July 18. Earlier this week, a federal judge denied Bannon’s motion to dismiss the indictment against him.
Navarro’s attorneys also justified a lengthier period before trial by saying he has a new book coming out in September and will be on the road promoting in beginning in August and through the rest of the year. The book – titled “Taking Back Trump’s America: Why We Lost the White House and How We’ll Win it Back” – is being published by Bombardier Books and distributed by Simon & Schuster. A description on Simon and Schuster’s website says the book will blame former President Donald Trump’s fall from power on a “confederacy of predatory globalists” and “incompetent and disloyal” people in the administration – among them former Attorney General Bill Barr, former National Security Adviser John Bolton and Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.
Federal prosecutors argued, as they did with Bannon, the case was much more straightforward than Navarro was describing and said the government was prepared to moved expeditiously toward trial. Mehta ultimately set the trial date for Nov. 17 while leaving open the possibility it could be moved.
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