Former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro made a defiant statement outside a Washington, D.C., courthouse on Friday after he was arrested by the FBI for contempt of Congress.
A grand jury indicted Navarro on Friday on two charges of contempt of Congress for allegedly failing to comply with a subpoena from the House committee investigating the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 last year. Navarro said FBI agents arrested him as he was boarding a plane to Nashville.
“Congress has weaponized the investigatory powers of congress in a way which is unconstitutional,” Navarro said Friday after a court hearing on the indictment. “The people of America need to understand, Congress has the right to investigate, but only for non-punitive, legislative purposes. What that committee is doing is investigating for punitive purposes.”
Navarro repeatedly criticized his treatment by the January 6 committee, President Joe Biden’s Justice Department, and the FBI. Navarro said that the FBI had disregarded his attempts and offer to cooperate with agents on legal issues stemming from the committee’s subpoena. Instead, the agents intercepted him as he was boarding a plane to Nashville to appear on former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s television show.
“Today the punishment which was inflicted upon a man presumed innocent and innocent until proven guilty demonstrates the utter disregard for the Constitution and the law that the Department of Justice has,” Navarro said.
“They intercepted me getting on the plane and they put me in handcuffs, they bring me here, they put me in leg irons, they stick me in a cell,” he said. “They just came with the full force of the federal government and put the hammer down trying to intimidate me.”
Navarro is apparently representing himself in the court over his indictment. “Part of the Democrats strategy is to engage in what is called ‘lawfare,’ which is they use the legal system for effectively coercion and illicit ends. I do not want to spend several hundred thousand dollars on lawyers.”
Each count of contempt of Congress carries a penalty of up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. The committee subpoenaed Navarro in February for documents and a deposition based on the committee’s belief that he possessed “information relevant to the committee’s investigation,” the subpoena said, according to the indictment.
Navarro is the second top Trump White House official to face an indictment related to the House committee’s investigation into January 6. The committee indicted former Trump aid Steve Bannon in November on similar charges.