Navarro insisted he didn’t want a pardon from President Joe Biden.

MIAMI — Peter Navarro has no regrets.

The ex-trade adviser to former President Donald Trump spent his last moments before reporting to federal prison railing against Democrats and the justice system, claiming they conspired to lock him up for refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena.

In a meandering 20-minute press conference at a strip mall parking lot a block away from the prison, Navarro — who repeatedly urged reporters to “fact-check me” — argued that his refusal to cooperate with congressional investigators investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol was really a high-minded effort to protect the separation of powers.

But the courts disagreed, and Navarro is now the first former White House official in history to go to prison after being convicted of contempt of Congress. He’s also the first member of Trump’s circle of White House advisers to go to jail for crimes stemming from Trump’s effort to subvert the 2020 election.

Navarro on Tuesday continued to maintain that his decision to invoke executive privilege — even when members of the House committee told him they’d address matters not related to his conversations with Trump — was proper. The Justice Department prosecuted him and he was convicted by a Washington, D.C., jury of two misdemeanor counts of contempt of Congress and sentenced to four months in a federal prison in Miami.

“I’m pissed. That’s what I’m feeling right now,” Navarro said, standing in a parking lot across from a Papa John’s and a pawn shop. “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. They come for me, they can come for you.”

Navarro’s trial judge explicitly rejected Navarro’s claims of victimhood when he issued the sentence in January.

“In all of this, even today, there is little acknowledgement of what your obligation is as an American to cooperate with Congress, to provide them with information they are seeking,” U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta said. “They had a job to do. And you made it harder. It’s really that simple.”

“You are not a victim. You are not the object of a political prosecution,” the judge added. “These are circumstances of your own making.”

Navarro spent the bulk of his remarks accusining investigators, judges and even jurors of “partisan weaponization” and said he shouldn’t have been compelled to testify given the experience of past White House officials.

But Navarro’s explanation also omitted key facts: Judges at every level concluded that Navarro had failed to show Trump ever intended to prevent his testimony to the Jan. 6 committee — and that even if he had, Navarro’s decision to entirely blow off the committee’s subpoena would still have been inappropriate. In addition, while many former White House officials have been afforded protections from compelled testimony to Congress, the Justice Department had never staked out a similar position regarding a former adviser to a former president. And only months before his subpoena, a fellow ex-adviser, Steve Bannon, was criminally charged for defying a Jan. 6 committee subpoena in a similar manner.

Navarro also falsely claimed that his fate was determined entirely by Democratic-appointed judges, omitting that just a day earlier, Chief Justice John Roberts made the final decision to deny his bid to remain out of jail pending the appeal of his conviction.

Navarro insisted he didn’t want a pardon from President Joe Biden, saying that he instead wanted his appeal to first go to an appeals court with what he called the “mission” of eventually getting the issues in front of the Supreme Court. He said he will be done serving his sentence by the time the appeal process is over, and he shook his head when asked whether he would want a pardon from Trump should he win the presidency in November.

Navarro wouldn’t answer whether he’d spoken with the former president, saying only that he “had the greatest amount of support from Donald Trump and his team.”

“I will walk proudly in there and do my time,” Navarro said after asserting that if Republicans had been in control of Congress then he wouldn’t be heading to jail. He accused former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who lost reelection after her role on the Jan. 6 committee, of hating Trump because he “told the truth about her daddy, her daddy killed people in Iraq and Afghanistan war and everybody in this country knows that.”

Navarro then took a moment to promote his forthcoming book, “The New MAGA Deal,” which he said comes out ahead of the Republican convention, and offered reporters an advance copy.

“I am just tired of the Democrats saying that Donald Trump and his followers and supporters are extremists,” he said.

Navarro worked with Bannon on a 2020 strategy they dubbed the “Green Bay sweep,” a plan to orchestrate congressional challenges to Biden’s presidential electors on Jan. 6, 2021, the day the House and Senate met to certify the 2020 election results.

Navarro also authored a three-part report making largely discredited claims of election fraud, one installment of which Trump cited in a now-infamous tweet urging supporters to descend on Washington for a “wild” protest on Jan. 6.

After his remarks, Navarro — accompanied by his attorney Stanley Woodward — stepped into a silver car and drove to the prison.

“I’ll see you on the other side,” he said as he departed the press conference.

Source: Politico

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