An official who served under President Donald Trump’s administration vowed Tuesday to appeal his convictions on two counts of contempt of Congress.
During a Newsmax interview, Peter Navarro said that “we’re gonna win this fight, that’s why God created the appeals court,” coming days after his convictions were handed down.
Mr. Navarro, who was a White House economic adviser, was convicted last week for not complying with a subpoena that was issued by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol breach. Republicans have accused the panel, which was dominated by Democrats and two anti-Trump Republicans, of having a significant political bias.
“It’s outrageous what they’re doing to me, and everybody I worked with,” Mr. Navarro told Newsmax. “Everybody in that frigging White House that I went in with on 2017, January, is facing massive legal bills and possible prison time because these SOBs want to keep Trump out of the White House.”
The former president, meanwhile, defended Mr. Navarro in a social media post on Sept. 8, saying the Jan. 6 committee was filled with “thugs” and “hacks.”
“They should be the ones who are prosecuted, not Peter Navarro who, by the way, was [the] single greatest trade negotiator against China, who paid the U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars during the Trump Administration (never paid ten cents before us!),” the former president wrote on Truth Social. “Only China is celebrating the Navarro conviction!”
Mr. Navarro was the second Trump aide to face contempt of Congress charges after former White House adviser Steve Bannon. Now a host of the “War Room” show, Mr. Bannon, was convicted of two counts and was sentenced to four months behind bars, though he has been free pending appeal.
U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta found that Mr. Navarro didn’t have enough evidence to show President Trump had invoked executive privilege. The judge scheduled Navarro’s sentencing for Jan. 12.
“This is a landmark case that’s bound for the Supreme Court,” Mr. Navarro said. Defense attorney John Rowley echoed his statement, saying “this case is not over by a long shot.”
Mr. Navarro was convicted in Washington’s federal courthouse of two misdemeanor counts of contempt of Congress, both punishable by up to a year behind bars. The charges also carry fines of up to $100,000.
Prosecutors argued at trial that the former Trump adviser acted as if he were “above the law” when he defied a subpoena for documents and a deposition from the House Jan. 6 committee.
“Peter Navarro made a choice. He chose not abide by the congressional subpoena,” prosecutor Elizabeth Aloi said. “The defendant chose allegiance to former President Donald Trump over compliance to the subpoena.”
A defense attorney countered that Mr. Navarro didn’t purposely ignore the House Jan. 6 Committee. Instead, according to the lawyer, Mr. Navarro told staffers to contact the former president about what might be protected by executive privilege, something that didn’t happen.
“It is not uncommon for Congress to hold former or serving members of presidential administrations in contempt,” he said. “It is uncommon for the actual justice department to go forward with these prosecutions.”
He made reference to former Attorney General Eric Holder, a Democrat who served under former President Barack Obama, having been found in contempt of Congress in 2012 for not handing over subpoenaed documents. Mr. Holder was never criminally prosecuted over the matter, while Republicans have long said it’s a sign of a double standard.
“We’re going down a dangerous route by escalating these things,” said Mr. Lanza, adding, “That’s not good for our system of government.”
President Trump faces federal indictments in Washington, D.C., and a state indictment in Georgia over his efforts after the 2020 election. He has denied wrongdoing and has said he was acting within the law. He also faces charges in Manhattan for allegedly falsifying business records during the 2016 campaign.
On Monday, the former president filed court papers in Washington, asking Judge Tanya Chutkan to recuse herself from the federal prosecutor’s election case against him. His lawyers argued that the judge made public statements during Jan. 6 sentencing hearings that suggest she has a political bias against the former president.
Also Monday, President Trump separately filed motions to dismiss the Fulton County District Attorney’s case against him in Georgia. His lawyers have also filed papers indicating they will attempt to take his case to a federal court.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.