Peter Navarro, once an adviser to former President Trump, argued Friday that the government trying to compel him to testify was a violation of the Constitution’s separation of powers.
“The irony is that the Department of Justice itself has maintained a policy for more than 50 years that says that senior advisors like me absolutely cannot be compelled to testify before Congress,” he argued in an interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity.
“Why? Because it violates the constitutional separation of powers and interferes with the ability of executive privilege to provide effective presidential decision making,” Navarro added.
His comments come after the ex-Trump staffer was sentenced Thursday to four months in prison for refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. He was convicted in September on two counts of contempt of Congress, one for failing to produce documents related to the investigation and another for skipping his deposition.
Prosecutors argued Navarro showed “utter disregard” for the House committee’s probe and “utter contempt for the rule of law.”
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) — who chaired the House select committee investigation the Jan. 6 insurrection — celebrated the sentence.
“Last summer’s guilty verdict and today’s sentence are the consequence of Mr. Navarro’s stubborn insistence that his short stint in the Executive Branch somehow put him above the law. I applaud the US Attorneys for their hard work in bringing this case to a successful conclusion,” he wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, following the verdict.
Top Stories from The Hill
Navarro, 74, said a four-month prison sentence at his age was “a death sentence.” The former Trump aide also was ordered to pay a $9,500 fine.
He told Hannity that he has “a great case” that he believes will go all the way to the Supreme Court. In his argument, Navarro said the sentencing is a result of prosecutors trying to come after the former president.
“If anybody thinks they’re not trying to put Donald Trump in prison for 700 years, they just need to look at what they did to me yesterday,” he said in the interview. “They’re not messing around.”
A federal judge also sentenced Steve Bannon, a former White House adviser who was also convicted on two counts of contempt of Congress last year, to four months in prison. Bannon has yet to serve time because the judge said he could remain free pending his appeal.