Jury selection in the contempt of Congress trial against former Trump advisor Peter Navarro was set to begin Tuesday in federal court in Washington DC.
U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta last week rejected an argument from Navarro, a former Trump White House trade advisor, that he could exert executive privilege in ignoring a subpoena from last year’s House Select January 6 Committee.
Mehta had agreed with prosecutors that there was no evidence to back Navarro’s assertion that Trump had worked to shield his former advisor from the committee’s subpoena.
Navarro has indicated the issue will be the subject of future appeals and litigation, telling reporters last week he should not have been compelled to testify at all because he was a senior White House adviser.
The Supreme Court has affirmed a former President’s executive privilege but in cases of dispute between a former and incumbent President, the current occupier of the Oval Office takes precedence. And President Biden has waived executive privilege related to investigations into the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection as well as the investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents.
The January 6 Committee first subpoenaed Navarro for records and testimony in February 2022 as part of its investigation into the insurrection which stemmed from efforts to overturn Biden’s 2020 election victory over Trump. After he refused to comply with the subpoenas, Navarro was indicted on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress, to which he has pleaded not guilty. Each count carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
The committee also referred former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino to the Department of Justice for contempt, but the DOJ declined to prosecute them.