Peter Navarro, former Trump adviser, begins 4-month prison sentence

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Peter Navarro, a trade adviser to former President Donald J. Trump, reported to a federal prison in Miami on Tuesday, becoming the first senior Trump administration official to serve time for his role in the effort to subvert the election results. 2020.

Navarro, 74, who helped shape Trump’s plans to remain in power after his election loss in November 2020, was sentenced to four months in prison in January for contempt of Congress after defying a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot.

At a hastily arranged news conference shortly before his admission to the Federal Correctional Institution in Miami, a low-security prison next to the Miami-Dade Zoo, Navarro repeated familiar complaints against the Justice Department and the Biden administration.

Speaking in the parking lot of a shopping plaza, flanked by a pizzeria and a pawn shop, he blamed the federal trial judge in his case, as well as Biden and a long list of politicians he said were motivated by hostility. towards Mr. Trump.

He added that the “tragedy” of his situation was that he was likely to serve his sentence while continuing to appeal his conviction.

“I’m only afraid of one thing,” he told reporters. “I fear for my country, because this (what they are doing) will have a chilling effect on all Americans, regardless of their party.”

Sam Mangel, a federal prison consultant who helped Navarro prepare for his surrender, said he was working to enroll Navarro in a unit designed for inmates over 60 in a minimum-security satellite camp at the prison.

Inmates share bunk beds in an open 80-bed dormitory with minimal privacy, Mangel said, adding that, given his age, Navarro hoped to meet his prison work requirements through a job as a law library clerk or another job. low intensity. position.

The rambling speech was a characteristically peculiar ending for Navarro, whose bravado and idiosyncrasy have been a hallmark of his career.

Navarro, a Harvard-educated economist, was a strident critic of China who helped inform Trump’s protectionist trade policies.

Before joining the Trump administration, Navarro jumped in and out of political parties, seeking Democratic office in California, but repeatedly falling short.

In 1992, running on an environmental platform, Navarro nearly won the San Diego mayoral election, employing tricks such as swimming a mile to a campaign event where He addressed a crowd in a Speedo. he was an orator at the 1996 Democratic National Convention, defending President Bill Clinton.

Navarro also turned to academia and spent more than two decades as professor at the University of California, Irvine. While he was in college, cited a fictional alter ego in his books, often referred to as the Dark Prince of Disaster, to inject scathing descriptions of China.

The start of Mr. Navarro’s prison sentence ended a protracted legal challenge that ended up in the Supreme Court on Monday as he sought to remain free while appealing his conviction.

Navarro had argued that because he had been working on behalf of the president, his case presented novel legal questions about the separation of powers and the scope of executive privilege.

But the judges were not convinced.

The result marked a stark contrast to that of another former Trump adviser, Stephen K. Bannon. He was sentenced to identical sentence on parallel charges but the federal judge presiding over his case allowed him to remain free.

The House committee sought to interview Navarro in part because he, along with Bannon, devised a strategy to recruit Republican allies in Congress to delay the certification of the election by repeatedly challenging the counting of electoral votes in disputed states. Navarro spoke openly about the plan, dubbed the Green Bay Sweep, in a memoir and in interviews.

But when the committee asked for his testimony and documents from that period, Navarro refused to participate.

During his trial, Navarro’s lawyers maintained that he had acted under the belief that Trump had asserted his executive privilege and expected him not to cooperate.

But Navarro’s lawyers could point to little evidence that Trump had given instructions to that effect.

A lawyer for Mr. Navarro declined to comment on the appeal.

According to the Congressional Research Service, criminal enforcement of a congressional subpoena is extremely rare. And as in Navarro’s case, prosecutions often still fail to ensure congressional access to the information sought, particularly in cases involving the executive branch.

A seperation civil lawsuit The lawsuit filed by the Justice Department is underway, in which prosecutors have sought to recover hundreds of pages of presidential records that Navarro refused to provide to the National Archives and Records Administration after leaving office.

The arrest of Mr. Navarro stood out from the experience of other allies of the former president who have faced legal risks but ultimately few consequences.

Trump’s longtime friend and advisor Roger J. Stone Jr. He was sentenced to 40 months in prison after being convicted of obstructing a congressional investigation into Trump’s campaign in 2016, only for Trump to grant a commutation at the last minute.

Michael Flynn, his first national security adviser, twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during the Russia investigation, but the Justice Department, after an extraordinary public campaign by Trump, abruptly moved to withdraw your criminal case against him. In the final months of his presidency, Trump issued a pardon.

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