(PresidentialHill.com)- When Donald Trump’s anti-China econ loon, Steve Bannon, finally hired a lawyer to defend him against charges of contempt of Congress for his refusal to testify to the January 6 Select Committee, we at ATL shed a wee, tiny tear.
Peter Navarro no longer sends snarky letters to the courtroom assistant criticizing the behavior of the US District Judge. However, Navarro’s recently hired attorneys, John Rowley, a white-collar defense attorney, and John Irving, an environmental attorney, are filling the hole admirably with a slew of ridiculous arguments based on the notion that this is a “case of first impressions.”
The criminal prosecution of a senior aide to the president should be prohibited by law or, at the very least, allow evidence of his reliance on the Department’s legal positions to be introduced in his defense at trial. This is a test of the Separation of Powers between the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch.
Navarro argued that his position as an executive officer gave him “total immunity” from the legislative process when served with a subpoena. He also claimed that the previous president Trump had invoked executive privilege to exempt him from ever having to appear before the Committee. Navarro published a book about his “Green Bay Sweep” scheme to thwart President Biden’s electoral certification and replace fake electors with the real ones voters chose. At the same time, he was refusing to discuss it under oath. He was being asked to testify about this subject, and it had nothing to do with executive branch communications.
Asserting a public authority defense and charging the government with entrapment by estoppel due to Office of Legal Counsel memoranda that shields government officials from prosecution when they refuse to testify, Navarro is now attempting to learn about internal Justice Department and Congressional discussions.
Sounds recognizable? It should, considering those are the same justifications advanced by Steve Bannon, another member of the “Green Bay Sweep” conspiracy with Navarro, who was found guilty of the same offenses a month ago. The podcaster stated that even though he was (very) recently fired from the White House in 2017, executive privilege precluded him from appearing before the Committee to refuse to answer questions. He used the same justifications, claiming that the Committee had been improperly formed, that the DOJ had targeted him unfairly and that he hadn’t “willfully” disobeyed the subpoena because he thought that someone, somewhere, had permitted him not to comply.
Navarro’s attorneys have seized on a newly made public letter from the National Archives to Trump’s attorneys that President Biden rejected Trump’s assertion of executive privilege on materials he allegedly maintained after leaving office. Trump attempted to use executive privilege to prevent the Justice Department from bringing charges against him for improper handling of secret information, but Biden indicated he would defer to the department.