WASHINGTON — Peter Navarro, former business adviser to then-President Donald Trump, announced he would file a federal lawsuit on Tuesday challenging a subpoena from the House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol. on January 6, 2021.
The panel subpoenaed him to testify about a plan called “Green Bay Sweep” to delay certification of President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. Navarro described the plan in his book “In Trump Time” as “the latest and the best chance to snatch a stolen election from the deceptive jaws of the Democrats.”
But Navarro, who is representing himself in the lawsuit, called the Green Bay Sweep strategy legal and constitutional under the 1887 Voter Count Act. He fights the subpoena, arguing that the committee is illegitimate and partisan.
And Navarro claimed executive privilege to keep communications with the president confidential. He joined a handful of Republican member lawmakers challenging the committee and more than a dozen Trump aides and advisers who have filed lawsuits challenging the committee’s subpoenas in court.
“Each of the issues raised in the trial – which has taken several months to prepare – is ripe for justice to deal with; I find it my duty to raise these issues now rather than submit to the coercion of a kangaroo committee,” Navarro told the United States. TODAY. “This case is ultimately about whether congressional supporters are free to arm their investigative powers – I don’t think so – as well as the essential role that executive privilege plays and the Testimonial Immunity to Ensure Effective Presidential Decision-Making.”
Federal courts have so far recognized the committee’s authority. The committee obtained the Trump administration records after the Supreme Court refused to block a DC Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding a subpoena. Biden waived executive privilege for the documents, which judges ruled superior to Trump’s request.
Navarro said he chose to represent himself because the cost of hiring attorneys could reach $100,000 and he had some legal experience with a doctorate in regulatory economics publishing articles in legal journals.
“The Trump case, poorly reasoned and decided by Judge Obama, addresses only a small subset of the issues I raise in my trial,” Navarro told USA TODAY.
Navarro’s lawsuit is among two dozen others challenging the panel for having fewer members than allowed, for rejecting Republican candidates and for lacking a valid legislative purpose.
The committee also subpoenaed five Republican House members: Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Representatives Andy Biggs of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Jim Jordan of Ohio and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania.
After: Who has been subpoenaed so far by the January 6 committee?
Navarro’s response comes after McCarthy’s attorney, Elliot Berke, sent the committee an 11-page letter on Friday challenging the panel’s legitimacy. McCarthy refused to abide by what he called a partisan panel. He accuses the committee of being illegitimate because it has fewer members than it is authorized for, because its nominees were rejected, and because, he argues, the committee serves no legislative purpose.
“His sole purpose appears to be to score political points or harm his political opponents – acting as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee one day and the Justice Department the next,” Berke wrote.
After: McCarthy, will Jordan speak to Jan. 6 committee? Panel faces dilemma coaxing defiant GOP
Navarro said the Justice Department’s office of legal counsel approved a policy of executive privilege for 50 years and eight presidential administrations granting aides absolute immunity from testifying about their official duties.
But committee members argue that Trump and his former aides had no right to executive privilege for discussions of the election rather than government policy.
“In other words, they argue that their role in trying to overturn an election had to be kept secret because they had official roles as advisers to the ex-president,” Rep. Bennie Thompson said, D-Miss., chairman of the committee. in April while arguing for Navarro’s contempt citation. “If they want to make these claims, as ridiculous as they are, here’s what the law requires: they must come forward and make these claims on file, under oath.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., one of the committee members investigating the attack, said in April that federal courts had upheld the panel’s legislative purpose in multiple decisions.
“If it is not a valid legislative purpose to investigate violent attacks, insurgencies, and coup attempts against the United States government, then what is a valid purpose?” said Raskin.
Navarro is one of four Trump aides found in contempt of the House for defying committee subpoenas. The others are political strategist Steve Bannon, former chief of staff Mark Meadows and former deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino.
Bannon awaits trial on July 18. The Justice Department has yet to decide whether to charge Navarro, Meadows or Scavino.
Republicans have argued that contempt seeks to punish its targets rather than obtain information from them.
“Contempt won’t get any information to the committee,” Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., said in defending Navarro in April. “They want political punishment.”
Navarro in his lawsuit argued that the committee sought “to inflict upon me punishment in the form of shame, humiliation, banishment, ostracism, incitement to public hatred, possible imprisonment and forfeiture of my property, all without adequate protection of the protections of a legal process”.
At 72, he said the maximum sentence of a year in prison and a $100,000 fine would take a significant chunk out of his life expectancy and retirement savings.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Peter Navarro fights House’s Jan. 6 subpoena in federal trial