Peter Navarro, a former Assistant to the President under Donald Trump, is being ordered to report to prison on March 19 for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol building. If and when that happens, he would be the first former Trump advisor to serve jail time as a result of the 2020 election.

Who Is Peter Navarro?

Peter Navarro is a 74-year-old American economist who ran for office in San Diego five times – but never won. He’s a heavy critic of Germany and China, and is the professor emeritus of economics and public policy at the Paul Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine.

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Of course, he’s most known for serving as the Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy under Trump between 2017 and 2021. He also served as the National Defense Production Act policy coordinator during that time.

What Did Navarro Do Wrong?

Navarro was one of the many White House advisors to advance Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen. He was subpoenaed twice by Congress, but refused to comply – citing executive privilege.

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Congress eventually charged, convicted, and sentenced him to two charges of contempt. He has now been ordered to report to a Miami prison on March 19, but he’s in the process of trying to overturn his conviction.

What Is Executive Privilege?

According to Cornell Law School, executive privilege is defined as ‘the power of the President and other officials in the executive branch to withhold certain forms of confidential communication from the courts and the legislative branch.’

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Navarro argues that, because of executive privilege, he isn’t liable to comply with a legal subpoena – even if Congress is behind it. For those who have been living under a rock these past few years, here’s a timeline of how the Navarro case has gone.

February 2022: Jan. 6 Committee Subpoenas Navarro

Congress subpoenaed Navarro twice in February 2022 – one of which demanded he produce documents to the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, and the other demanded he testify in front of the committee.

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Navarro ignored both subpoenas and refused to comply with the committee’s investigation into his efforts to help Trump overturn the 2020 election. Unfortunately, this didn’t bode well for Navarro.

June 2022: Navarro Indicted For Contempt Of Congress

In April 2022, the House of Representatives held Navarro in contempt for failing to produce the documents and testify in front of Congress. Two months later, the Justice Department stepped in and charged him.

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Navarro was indicted on two counts of contempt of Congress. “They just came with the full force of the federal government and put the hammer down trying to intimidate me,” he said after being arrested while boarding a plane. He called the Justice Department ‘wrong on all manner of counts.’

September 2023: Navarro Convicted of Two Charges

In early September 2023, Navarro was found guilty on both charges of contempt of Congress. The conviction followed a two-day trial and a four-hour deliberation. He faced a maximum of one year per charge – meaning two years total.

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“The defendant chose allegiance to former President Trump over compliance with a subpoena. The defendant chose defiance,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Aloi at the time. Navarro immediately announced his intention to appeal the verdict.

January 2024: Navarro Sentenced To 4 Months In Prison

On January 25, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta sentenced Navarro to four months in prison – despite facing up to 24 months. Mehta criticized Navarro for blaming politics for his prosecution – as opposed to taking responsibility for his own actions.

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“In all of this, even today, there is little acknowledgment of what your obligation is as an American to cooperate with Congress, to provide them with information they are seeking,” Mehta said at the time. “They had a job to do. And you made it harder. It’s really that simple.”

February 2024: Judge Rejects Navarro’s Bid To Stay Out Of Prison

Last month, on February 8, Mehta rejected Navarro’s bid to remain out of prison while he appeals the conviction. Navarro was adamant that the appeal would succeed, but Mehta didn’t think it was enough to postpone the prison date.

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Navarro stood on three primary arguments – he had testimonial immunity because of his position at the White House, he had executive privilege asserted by Trump, and the prosecution was riddled with political bias. Mehta rejected all three arguments.

March 2024: Navarro Ordered To Report To Prison

Fast forward to today. On March 11, Navarro’s legal team announced that the 74-year-old former trade advisor must report to a Miami prison. He’s being ordered to the Bureau of Prisons, FCI Miami, on or before 2:00PM EDT on March 19, 2024.

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“Accordingly, Dr. Navarro respectfully reiterates his request for an administrative stay … Should this Court deny Dr. Navarro’s motion, he respectfully requests an administrative stay so as to permit the Supreme Court review of this Court’s denial,” his attorneys wrote in a court filing.

Navarro Claims Trump Advised Him Not To Testify

Navarro’s appeal largely rests on his claim that Donald Trump advised him not to testify in front of Congress – bringing us back to the executive privilege debate. If he had proof of Trump’s order, then it might stand up in court.

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The only problem – he doesn’t have proof. That’s the primary difference between his claim for executive privilege and those who came before him. Several other Trump aides had explicit proof of this – so the courts found it strange that Navarro didn’t.

Justice Department Suing Navarro For Documents

The prison sentence isn’t the only issue Navarro is facing. Amid the chaos, he’s also involved in a legal dispute with the Justice Department – which filed a civil lawsuit against the former advisor in August 2022.

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The Justice Department claims that Navarro used ‘at least one non-official email account’ to conduct business during his time in the White House. While that’s not against the rules, he never copied those messages into a government account, refused to turn them over, and wrongfully retained them.

Navarro Becomes Second Trump Advisor To Receive Sentence

Believe it or not, Navarro isn’t the first of Trump’s top advisors to face a prison sentence. Steve Bannon – who served as the White House’s chief strategist under Donald Trump – was convicted by a jury in July 2022 for failing to comply with a subpoena.

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Like Navarro, Bannon was sentenced to four months in prison. However, unlike Navarro, Bannon was never ordered to report to prison because U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols chose to suspend the sentence while he worked his way through the appeals process.

Navarro Could Become First Advisor To Spend Time In Jail

If Navarro ends up serving his four-month sentence, he would become the first top advisor to Donald Trump to spend time in jail for his role in trying to overturn the 2020 election. Bannon could be the second, if his appeal doesn’t work.

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“United States v. Peter Navarro is a landmark constitutional case that will eventually determine whether the constitutional separation of powers is preserved,” Navarro said in a statement on Monday – adding that it’s ‘worth fighting for on behalf of all Americans.’