Peter Navarro Got A Jan 6 Subpoena And His Reply Will Leave You All 'That One Guy Blinking Dot Gif'!
Peter Navarro is confused. If you can even believe such a thing.
Donald Trump's wackadoodle economics advisor — "Trade wars are good, and easy to win!" — has not shut up since he left the White House. He's constantly twitching in front of a green screen for Steve Bannon's vlog, and even went on Ari Melber's show to explain how he and Ol' Three Shirts tried to overturn the election in a ridiculous plan they dubbed the "Green Bay Sweep."
"You do realize you're describing a coup?" asked an incredulous Melber.
Navarro is already defying two congressional subpoenas: one from the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, which would like to know how Navarro managed to saddle the government with 63 million doses of hydroxybonermectin, and one from the January 6 Select Committee, which wants to ask him about the whole plot to overturn an election thing.
"On May 26, 2022, two FBI special agents banged loudly on my door in the early morning hours to present me with a fruit of the poisonous tree Grand Jury Subpoena #GJ2022052590979 USAO #2022R00631 commanding me to comply with the original ultra vires, illegal and unenforceable subpoena issued to me by the Committee dated February 9, 10 2022," he wrote, revealing that he is completely over his head and in dire need of a lawyer. And also that there is a grand jury in DC looking into his plan to overthrow the government.
There's a lot to unpack here, but let's start with explaining what "fruit of the poisonous tree" actually means, since our friend Peter seems to entertain some misconceptions on the subject. Let's say the cops beat a robbery suspect, and he tells them where the stolen goods are hidden. Obviously it's illegal to beat people, and thus cops can't recover the loot and then use it, or the fact that the suspect's finger prints are all over it, as evidence in a court case. That's what "fruit of the poisoned tree" means, and unless Speaker Nancy Pelosi beat the evidence out of this dipshit with her delicate stiletto, it's totally irrelevant to Navarro's case.
Second, the odds that a grand jury subpoena commanded him to comply with a congressional subpoena are somewhere between zero and none. That's just not how any of this works. It's entirely possible that the Justice Department is investigating Navarro for his role in the plot to substitute fake electors and/or contempt of Congress pursuant to the committee's referral. But that wouldn't be an effort to enforce the congressional subpoena and gain his testimony — it would be a criminal inquiry to see whether this bozo should catch a charge.
Third, the only courts to rule on this subject have held that the House January 6 Select Committee is duly constituted and has legitimate subpoena power. So it's cool that Navarro learned a new Latin legal phrase to use 14 times in 88 pages (anyone up for a game of hate symbol numerology?), but ultra vires means "beyond legal authority," and this ain't it.
In fact, we could sit here all day and explain all the ways that this ain't it. Navarro consistently admonishes the committee for "legislative acts that violate the principle of separation of powers in their simultaneous and unlawful pursuit of a judicial function," seemingly unaware that calling them "legislative acts" tacitly acknowledges that the committee is performing a legitimate legislative function; he insists that White House advisors have many jobs beyond their "'official' duties," seemingly unaware that he fatally weakened his privilege claim by admitting that he was acting outside the scope of his White House job; he hypes his dumb Trump book, and then says he can't testify about what he wrote in there; and, not for nothing, but federal judges are not generally in the habit of devising legal theories because some lunatic LARPing as a lawyer writes, "I propose the following test for this court to consider."
The whole thing is just a fundamentally unserious exercise in mental masturbation. But if we had to read this stinking pile of goat entrails, we'd say it looks like Navarro is being investigated by a grand jury for contempt of Congress.
Specifically, this Grand Jury Subpoena from Matthew M. Graves, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia pointedly ignored all claims of executive privilege and testimonial immunity while commanding me to testify before Grand Jury #22-3 of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on June 2, 2022 and present “[a]ll documents relating to the subpoena dated February 9, 2022” that I “received from the House Select Committee to investigate the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, including but not limited to any communications with formal President Trump [sic] and/or his counsel or representative.”
That's an invitation for Navarro to explain exactly how and when "formal" President Trump invoked privilege here. Because, as I've mentioned other places, Trump's lawyer Justin Clark appears to have played a little fast and loose with that one, essentially telling people like Bannon and Meadows to invoke any privilege they think they might have — which is not the same as saying don't testify and don't give those motherscratchers any documents.
Here's what Clark told Bannon's lawyer on October 16:
Just to reiterate, our [October 6] letter referenced below didn’t indicate that we believe there is immunity from testimony for your client. As I indicated to you the other day, we don’t believe there is. Now, you may have made a different determination. That is entirely your call. But as I also indicated the other day other avenues to invoke the privilege – if you believe it to be appropriate – exist and are your responsibility. If you haven’t already I’d encourage you again to contact counsel for the committee to discuss it further.
Unlike Navarro, Bannon's got a lawyer acting as a buffer, and he still wound up on the pointy end of a federal indictment for contempt of Congress.
And it's one thing to say "Oh, yeah, you and what army?" to the committee, which is likely to be disbanded in the next Congress. It's quite another to defy a federal grand jury and dare the FBI to come arrest you. But, hey, it's a free country, so if Peter Navarro wants to run nuts first into a brick wall, who are we to say he shouldn't, right?
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.