Former Trump adviser Peter Navarro on Thursday spoke at length to MSNBC host Ari Melber about a lawsuit he has filed against the Justice Department and the House Jan. 6 committee after the DOJ subpoenaed him for documents and testimony. Navarro has indicated he will refuse, saying the subpoena demanded “fruit of the poisonous tree.”
Navarro was found to be in contempt of Congress last month for ducking a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 committee, with the House referring him – as well as Trump’s social media handler Dan Scavino – to the Justice Department for potential prosecution. When the Jan. 6 committee voted to move along the contempt charge, Navarro abruptly bailed on a scheduled appearance that night on Melber’s show.
Thursday’s appearance was yet another edition of the pair sparring over Navarro’s role in the events of Jan. 6, his refusal to cooperate with Congress, and yet his willingness to write a book and talk with the press. (Navarro told The Daily Beast in December about the “Green Bay Sweep” plan that he and Steve Bannon ginned up to try to thwart the 2020 election results and keep Trump in power.)
“You’re waging this legal battle not to talk to the committee, not to talk potentially to DOJ, although as you said, TBD,” Melber said. “So you’re risking going potentially to jail not to talk to them, but you’re out here talking in public. You do realize these investigators can hear you when you talk on TV?”
“What we’re talking about now, Ari, is the case law itself and the constitutionality of executive privilege, testimony, immunity. A second key issue in the case is the separation of powers,” Navarro replied. “This kangaroo committee has clearly violated the separation of powers. They’re not supposed to act as judge, jury, and executioner. They’re only supposed to pursue a legislative function.”
Melber said he’d take Navarro’s premise seriously, and Navarro replied: “You should. This is why I’m fighting. This is why I’m willing to go to jail for this.”
The pair went back and forth for 20 minutes, with Navarro offering no shortage of blustery opinions about what he believes should be done to congressional Democrats and the Biden administration.
Melber quoted Navarro’s lawsuit: “‘If an incumbent can strip a predecessor of privilege…just imagine what will happen to Biden and his advisers if Republicans win in 2024.’” Melber continued, “Quote, ‘If I’m not dead or in prison, I will lead the charge.’ What are you threatening? And are you suggesting that you would be in a Republican White House? And what will you do?”
“You bet your ass that I will lead the charge,” Navarro replied. “I will take Adam Schiff and Jamie Raskin and Nancy Pelosi and Rosa DeLauro – all of those clowns and kangaroos – I’ll take Biden and every single senior staff member in there–”
“And do what?” Melber interjected.
“Hit them with subpoenas,” Navarro declared. “We’ll start with the impeachment of Biden for Ukraine, the southern border, all manner of things he is guilty of and we’ll subpoena his senior staff.”
Melber said he wanted to get on record whether Navarro, if he were to return to a position of authority in a Republican administration, would “use the Department of Justice to subpoena Democrats” he doesn’t like.
“I will push as hard as I can to use the same B.S. the Democrats are using now to try to put me in prison for standing up for principle,” Navarro claimed. “If they want to play that game, we’ll play it right back. They’ll hit us, we hit them back harder. That’s not what I want, Ari. Let me be clear. I do not want that.”
“Well, you wrote it in a court filing and just said it on air, sir,” Melber shot back, “so it sounds like what you want.”