Trump adviser Peter Navarro starts prison term for contempt of US Congress | Donald Trump News

Peter Navarro, a key adviser to the White House under former United States President Donald Trump, has turned himself in to a federal prison in Miami, Florida, to serve a four-month sentence for defying a congressional subpoena.

His arrival at the prison on Tuesday makes him the first senior Trump official to report to prison in relation to efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

“I am the first senior White House adviser in the history of our republic that has ever been charged with this alleged crime,” Navarro said in a fiery press conference outside the prison.

He also blamed members of the Democratic Party and judicial bias for his prison sentence.

“Every person who has taken me on this road to that prison is a friggin’ Democrat and a Trump hater,” he said, pointing towards the federal detention facility.

In September, a US district court convicted Navarro of two counts of contempt of Congress, after he failed to comply with a subpoena to surrender documents and sit for a congressional deposition.

The testimony and documents were part of a trove of evidence being collected by a now-defunct House Select Committee assigned to investigate the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

That attack saw thousands of Trump supporters storm the seat of Congress in an attempt to disrupt the certification of the 2020 election. Trump, a Republican, had lost that election to Democrat Joe Biden.

Peter Navarro at an outdoor press conference in Miami, Florida
Former White House official Peter Navarro told reporters he was ‘pissed’ as he turned himself over to authorities in Miami, Florida [Adriana Gomez Licon/AP Photo]

Still, Navarro and other Trump allies spread a conspiracy theory that Trump had not, in fact, been defeated — but was rather the victim of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 race.

A former trade adviser to Trump, Navarro in particular promoted a proposal called the “Green Bay Sweep”, which would pressure public officials to decertify results that showed Biden winning.

However, Navarro refused to submit to the House committee’s requests for testimony, citing Trump’s claims that, as president, he enjoyed executive privilege during the January 6 attack.

Both Navarro and fellow Trump adviser Steve Bannon were ultimately convicted of failing to comply with the congressional committee’s subpoenas. But unlike Navarro, Bannon was allowed to delay his prison sentence while he pursued an appeal.

However, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, denied a last-minute request from Navarro’s legal team that he, too, should remain free pending his appeal.

Roberts’s decision, which came on Monday, all but assured Navarro would face time behind bars.

“I see no basis to disagree with the determination” made by the lower courts, Roberts wrote. He explained that Navarro had not met the “burden to establish his entitlement to relief under the Bail Reform Act”.

John Roberts in the audience at the State of the Union
Chief Justice John Roberts, left, denied Peter Navarro’s attempt to delay his prison sentence [Shawn Thew/Pool via AP]

Navarro used his press conference in Miami to argue that, like Trump, he had been the victim of a weaponised legal system and partisan tactics. He also called the House Select Committee he had been called to testify before “unlawful”.

“I’m pissed. That’s what I’m feeling right now. But I’m also afraid of only one thing: I’m afraid for this country, because this, what they’re doing, should have a chilling effect on every American, regardless of their party. If they come for me, they can come for you,” Navarro said.

The House Select Committee ultimately shut down in January 2023, as Republicans took control of the House of Representatives.

But before it disbanded, the committee compiled its 18 months of research into a damning, 845-page report, accusing Trump and his allies of refusing to accept their defeat in the 2020 election.

The report argued that Trump “unlawfully pressured State officials and legislators to change the results of the election in their States” and “oversaw an effort to obtain and transmit false electoral certificates”, among other acts in a “multi-part conspiracy” to overturn the election results.

While the report recommended criminal charges, it did not have the power to pursue them independently.

Trump supporters on January 6 hold signs that read "Stop the Steal" and "Trump won big."
Donald Trump supporters rally on January 6, 2021, near the White House [Jose Luis Magana/AP Photo]

However, the US Department of Justice has since appointed a special counsel, Jack Smith, to investigate Trump’s actions before, during and after the 2020 election.

Smith has since filed two federal criminal indictments against Trump: one in Washington, DC, for attempts to subvert the election and one in Florida for Trump’s handling of classified documents once out of office.

Trump faces two additional criminal indictments on the state level. The first, in New York, concerns hush money payments made during the 2016 presidential race. And the second, in Georgia, pertains to attempts to subvert the 2020 election results in that state.

The former president — now the presumptive Republican nominee in the 2024 US presidential race — has denied all the charges against him.

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