Trump defends Peter Navarro after contempt conviction

Former President Trump lashed out Friday after his former economic adviser Peter Navarro was found guilty of contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the Capitol.

“I can’t believe that these Fascist Monsters have so viciously gone after the great Peter Navarro for defying the totally partisan January 6th Unselect Committee of political Hacks and Thugs,” Trump wrote on Truth Social.

The former president repeated the false claim that the House panel that investigated the riots deleted and destroyed its findings, suggesting Navarro’s testimony would not have mattered.

“They should be the ones who are prosecuted, not Peter Navarro who, by the way, was 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!). Only China is celebrating the Navarro conviction!” he wrote.

A jury Thursday found Navarro guilty following deliberations that lasted nearly five hours.

Navarro faced two counts of contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with a subpoena served by the House Jan. 6 committee. The first charge pertained to his failure to produce documents and the second was for failing to appear for a deposition. 

After his conviction, Navarro made comments outside the D.C. federal courthouse, swarmed by a handful of protesters speaking over him and attempting to block him with signs. He told reporters he was convicted because of “association with J6,” not for contempt of Congress, the charges lodged against him. 

He also told reporters that he expects his case to reach the Supreme Court because of the questions it raises about executive privilege for high-ranking White House staff. 

Navarro served in Trump’s White House and was one of the most outspoken critics of China, pushing Trump to escalate a trade war with Beijing, and he was an influential voice in Trump’s ear during the COVID-19 pandemic response. He also clashed frequently with other White House aides behind the scenes.

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