(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Yesterday, a jury in Washington, DC found Trump’s former White House economic adviser, Peter Navarro, guilty of two counts of contempt of Congress. It was the final, inevitable rejection of a little man who didn’t realize the limits of his own power and never understood DC politics.

Navarro worked in relative obscurity as an economics professor in California until 2016, when Jared Kushner browsed Amazon’s book section, looking for someone with geopolitical theories as youthful and nationalistic as his father-in-law’s. He clicked on the title Death at the hands of China, and the rest is history. Soon Navarro was deployed to the White House, advising Trump on everything from the joys of the trade war to the effectiveness of ivermectin against COVID-19. Like Kushner, Navarro has an uncanny certainty that his innate genius will gift him with better insights than a mere expert, no matter the subject. But unlike Kushner, whose financial disdain (and strange voice) prevents him from making public speeches, Navarro is prone to frantic public rants, waving his hands and sighing in annoyance at the stupidity of everyone around him.

After Trump’s loss in 2020, Navarro dedicated himself to “proving” that the election was stolen, penning a memo full of astute remarks like “No Republican has ever won a presidential election without winning Ohio, while only two Democrats have won the presidency.” “without winning Florida.” His theory appears to be that the difference between in-person votes for Trump and mail-in votes for Biden, which was so widely predicted that it was nicknamed “Red Mirage, Blue Wave,” was statistically impossible .

Not content with commenting on the vagaries of state election law, Navarro turned his attention to federal election procedures, teaming up with MAGA podcaster Steve Bannon to overturn the ballot through a crazy conspiracy they dubbed “The Green Bay Sweep.” called, to confuse. Of course, the two spoke publicly about their plan in the weeks leading up to January 6, and afterward Navarro wrote a book about it.

But while Bannon seemed to have realized that the only way to confirm the fraudulent swing-state voters was to surround Congress with hordes of menacing rioters, Navarro continued to rely on his own powers of persuasion. What kind of idiot could not be persuaded by the unimpeachable logic of a lay statistician and self-taught expert on electoral counting law?

In fact, the only place Navarro refused to air his grievances was in Congress. In response to the committee’s Jan. 6 subpoenas for documents and testimony, Navarro sent an angry email refusing to comply with the request.

“Please note that President Trump has invoked executive privilege in this matter; and it is neither my privilege to waive it nor Joseph Biden’s privilege to waive it,” he wrote. “Accordingly, my hands are tied.”

He provided no evidence to support this claim and did not even bother to hire a lawyer. But perhaps the latter was a testament to his genius after all – the only other witness to outright defy the committee was Bannon, who paid lawyer Robert Costello to tell the committee to bow down, only to find that the advice of an attorney is not a valid defense is contempt of Congress.

Before his indictment in June 2022, Navarro filed a gloriously crappy lawsuit against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the January 6 Select Committee, and Matthew Graves, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. After his arrest, he vowed to continue presenting himself pro se. But after a few weeks of bombarding Judge Amit Mehta’s clerk with snooty emails, he was finally assigned to Stanley Woodward Jr., John Irving and John Rowley, three MAGAworld lawyers who are low- and mid-level Trumpland characters represent. In the Florida documents case, Woodward represents co-defendant Walt Nauta and has represented at least seven other witnesses interviewed by the special counsel. Irving is representing co-defendant Carlos De Oliveira and three witnesses who he claims have since retained alternative counsel. And Rowley once represented Trump himself, although he quit about five minutes after the charges were dropped.

In this case, this legal dream team appears to have done little more than preserve Navarro’s appeal record. Judge Mehta barred them from asserting executive privilege as a defense, ruling that there was no evidence that Trump ever did so, and Navarro would still have had to show up to testify and invoke the privilege on a question-by-question basis anyway – which was practically the case. Every second witness was summoned. During the two-day trial, they called no witnesses and rarely questioned those presented by the government.

Curiously, the jury was not persuaded by Woodward’s claim that the government had failed to prove its case by failing to ascertain his client’s whereabouts on the day he was scheduled to testify.

“Where was Dr. Navarro on March 2, 2022?” Woodward said, according to Politico. “We do not know it. …Why hasn’t the government provided you with evidence about where Dr. Navarro was or what he did? Something stinks.”

“Who cares where he was? “What matters is where he wasn’t,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney John Crabb in response to the rebuttal. “He wasn’t where he was legally required to be.”

The jury voted to convict within about two hours, after which Woodward filed an immediate motion for a mistrial because the panel, accompanied by a marshal, had taken a break in the park outside the courthouse and was potentially exposed to protesters. This application is still being examined at this time. For now, however, Navarro is scheduled to be sentenced in January.

“Guilty. I am doing my duty to God, the country, the Constitution and my Commander in Chief. Stand tall and give thanks for your prayers,” he said tweetedseemingly unaware of the identity of the man currently occupying the Oval Office.

Outside the courthouse, Navarro was typically defiant, railing against “Marxists” and raving about the vital separation of powers issues his case raises. And all the while he was being followed by a very funny protester who interrupted him mid-conversation.

It’s a fitting final word for a man who came into the national spotlight not because of any special achievements, but because his particular brand of quackery resonated with Donald Trump’s poorly educated superiors. And now, thanks to his own inadequate belief in his own innate genius, Navarro has landed himself in two felony convictions. In the end, he will go to prison in service of a man who didn’t bother to invoke executive privilege in 2021 and chose not to back up Navarro’s pretrial privilege claims in 2023.

But at least Navarro got one last Truth Social post before Trump tosses him aside and never thinks about him again.

USA vs. Navarro [Docket via Court Listener]

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore, where she writes about law and politics and appears on the “Opening Arguments” podcast.

Source : abovethelaw.com

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