During a court appearance in Washington DC on Friday, Navarro said he still wants to represent himself without a lawyer and accused prosecutors of using “hardball” tactics by arresting him at an airport and not letting him make a phone call.
Navarro said he was arrested at an airport in the DC area Friday on his way to Nashville.
He faces two charges of contempt: one for his failure to present documents required by the committee and the other for failing to appear at the summons of witnesses for the house investigators.
Navarro had claimed he was unable to cooperate because former President Donald Trump had claimed executive privileges in the case. The committee had countered these arguments by quoting that many of the topics it wished to discuss with him he had already written in great detail about in his book.
The Justice Department has come under pressure from House Democrats and others on the left to not act aggressively enough in its January 6 investigation, especially because it concerns the role Trump and his inner circle played in trying to overthrow the election and in creating the masses. . voter fraud that provoked the violent assault on the Capitol.
Recently, however, there have been indications that the department has accelerated its investigation into a plan to present fraudulent lists of Trump-backed voters in states won by President Joe Biden.
At Friday’s court appearance, Judge Zia Faruqui expressed concern about letting Navarro represent himself. “I think it’s important that you have a lawyer,” the judge told him.
Navarro said he was okay with the judge appointing a lawyer “today” and that he sent prosecutors an email with a lawyer contact while they worked out this. Navarro, who holds a PhD in economics, is not a lawyer.
“The court should be adjourned for a number of reasons,” Navarro added, requesting that his civil trial against the committee on January 6 proceed before any criminal proceedings.
The court hearing the civil case has already charged Navarro with procedural errors in the way he structured the case.
The Justice Department did not request that Navarro be detained, and while claiming the conditions of release were too strict – Faruqui said he “no threat to anyone, not a flight risk” – the judge largely disagreed, but allowed him to keep hans pas.
Navarro will have to report to pre-trial investigation services, must notify prior trials if he is traveling, must not possess firearms or explosives, and must have permission to travel outside the continental United States.
His next court hearing is scheduled for June 17.
Focus on lack of cooperation
The new charges against Navarro focus narrowly on his failure to comply with Parliament’s inquiry.
The summons from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia specifically requests “all documents regarding the summons dated February 9, 2022 that you received from the House Select Committee to investigate the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, including but not limited to any communication with former President Trump and / or his advisers or representatives. “
In the indictment, prosecutors cite the repeated denials Navarro received from the committee of his arguments for not complying with the lawsuit.
In an email on Feb. 27, quoted by the indictment, the Navarro committee said the committee believed there were issues they could discuss “without raising concerns about executive privileges at all.”
“In any event, you must appear to assert any objections to executive privileges on a question-to-question basis during the deposit,” the committee wrote.
When the committee earlier this year referred Navarro to criminal charges, it accused him of making no effort to comply with its summons and claimed that he made it clear that he was unable to cooperate because Trump had asserted executive privilege in the case.
Committee Chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, cited the argument for executive privilege during Navarro’s contempt hearing.
“They potentially played a role in an attack on American democracy, but they can ignore our investigation because they were working for the government at the time. That is their argument,” Thompson said at the time, referring to both Navarro and Scavino. “They are not fooling anyone. They are obliged to comply with our investigation. They have refused to do so. And that is a crime.”
The committee told Navarro that there were several subject areas it wanted to discuss with him that were not covered by privileges, but Navarro declined the offer. Navarro also asked the committee whether the case would be held in public. He eventually shut down communication with the committee and referred all questions regarding his cooperation to Trump and his lawyers.
Navarro revealed Monday that he had been sued by federal prosecutors seeking documents related to his decision. Navarro said in an interview with MSNBC on Thursday night that he “responded” to the Justice Department, but he declined to say he would be willing to pass on the documents the prosecutors had requested.
Threatens retaliation if GOP wins
In the MSNBC interview with Ari Melber, Navarro said he would “lead the charge” to pursue the charges against Biden and leading Democrats if the Republicans win the White House in 2024.
“You bet I will lead the attack,” Navarro said. “I want to take Adam Schiff and Jamie Raskin and Nancy Pelosi and Rosa DeLauro – all the clowns and kangaroos – I want to take Biden and every senior employee in there -“
“And do what?” interjected Melber.
“Beat them with subpoenas,” Navarro declared. “We start with the trial against Biden for Ukraine, the southern border, all sorts of things he is guilty of, and we will sue his senior staff.”
Melber said he wanted to know if Navarro, if he were to return to a position of authority in a Republican administration, would “use the Justice Department to summon Democrats,” he dislikes.
“I will push as hard as I can to use the same BS that the Democrats are now using to try to put me in jail for standing up for the principles,” Navarro said. “If they want to play that game, we’ll play it right away. They beat us, we beat them harder. That’s not what I want, Ari. Let me be clear. I do not want that.”
This story has been updated with further details.
CNN’s Sonnet Swire, Hannah Rabinowitz, and Katelyn Polantz contributed to this report.