Former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro was indicted by a grand jury on contempt of Congress charges Friday for defying subpoenas from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the Department of Justice announced.
“Former White House advisor Peter K. Navarro has been indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of contempt of Congress stemming from his failure to comply with a subpoena issued by the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 breach of the United States Capitol,” the Justice Department said in a release.
According to the indictment, Navarro faces one count over his refusal to appear for a deposition in front of the committee and another count for refusing to produce documents.
Navarro was taken into custody Friday, according to a law enforcement official, and made his initial court appearance in D.C. federal court Friday afternoon, where he did not enter a plea and was released without bond.
Speaking to reporters after his court appearance, Navarro called the Jan. 6 panel a “kangaroo committee,” and said the subpoenas issued by the committee are “ultra vigorous,” “unenforceable” and “unconstitutional.”
ABC News reported earlier this week that Navarro had filed a lawsuit against the U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., and other parties after claiming he had received a grand jury subpoena related to the House’s contempt referral.
The House voted in April to hold Navarro and former White House social media manager Dan Scavino in contempt over their refusal to cooperate with the committee. The Justice Department has not yet taken any action against Scavino, but the department previously returned a similar indictment against former White House strategist Steve Bannon after the House voted to hold him in contempt last year.
Bannon has pleaded not guilty to the charge and his case is set to go to trial in July.
Democrats on the Jan. 6 committee have expressed frustration with the Justice Department for not taking action on a contempt referral approved by the House last December for former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. But unlike Navarro and Scavino, Meadows did initially provide some cooperation with the committee and handed over thousands of private emails and texts before reversing course and refusing to provide testimony.
If convicted on both counts, Navarro could face a maximum of two years in prison and fines up to $200,000, according to the Justice Department.