Judge rejects former Trump aide Peter Navarro’s executive privilege claim, paving way for trial

A federal choose on Wednesday denied ex-White House adviser Peter Navarro’s bid to flee contempt prices by claiming former President Donald Trump had invoked govt privilege over his potential testimony to a congressional panel investigating the occasions main as much as and together with the Jan. 6 riot on the U.S. Capitol.

The ruling paves the best way for Navarro to face trial subsequent week in Washington, D.C., on legal contempt of Congress prices for ignoring subpoenas from the Home Jan. 6 committee.

Navarro has claimed that Trump directed him to invoke govt privilege — a privilege the protects presidential deliberation — however there was no proof Trump had really accomplished so, U.S. District Choose Amit Mehta discovered at a pre-trial listening to Wednesday.

Mehta cited three pillars of invoking govt privilege: that it should be made by the president or a certified consultant of his; that it should be made after private consideration by the president or a certified consultant; and that it can’t be validly asserted by what Mehta referred to as “mere acquiescence” or a “blanket assertion of privilege.”

“Govt privilege is a rare assertion of energy, to not be frivolously invoked,” Mehta mentioned.

Navarro had cited Trump’s alleged invocation of privilege as the explanation he refused to reply any questions or flip over any paperwork to the Jan. 6 committee. However no proof has been submitted from Trump asserting he’d claimed govt privilege in Navarro’s case earlier than the courtroom.

One in all Trump’s attorneys, Evan Corcoran, submitted a letter within the case on the previous president’s behalf this 12 months extolling the significance of govt privilege. The letter to Navarro mentioned it “confirms President Trump’s place that, as one among his senior advisors, you had an obligation to claim govt privilege on his behalf and absolutely adjust to the ideas of confidentiality acknowledged above whenever you responded to the Committee’s subpoena.” The letter doesn’t say Trump invoked privilege himself or directed Navarro to not cooperate with the Jan. 6 committee.

At a listening to Monday, Mehta famous that Navarro did not cite any of the language Trump allegedly utilized in what Navarro mentioned was their dialogue on the matter. “Even when there aren’t magic phrases,” Mehta mentioned, there ought to be “some phrases” or a “smoke sign” about what Trump mentioned.

The Jan. 6 committee contended it wanted info from Navarro as a result of the commerce adviser had performed a key function “within the ex-president’s effort to overturn the 2020 election,” and had publicly boasted about his plans to upend the election outcomes. He referred to as the plan the “Inexperienced Bay Sweep” in a guide he printed in 2021, and has mentioned publicly that Trump was “on board with the technique.”

Navarro has pleaded not responsible to each prices towards him — one alleging he refused to supply testimony and the opposite alleging he refused to supply paperwork.

Jury choice is ready to start Sept. 5.

Gary Grumbach

Dareh Gregorian

Kyle Stewart contributed.