WASHINGTON In an effort to force former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro to turn over emails from a personal account that he allegedly used to conduct official White House business, the Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against him.
The agency has asked a judge to order Navarro to turn over the records in the complaint, which was submitted on Wednesday.
The complaint claims that Navarro, a key trade adviser in the Trump administration, has refused to turn up the papers until he has been granted “immunity for the act of surrendering such records.”
According to the lawsuit, Navarro utilized a personal account with ProtonMail, an encrypted email service, to send and receive official emails while working as a presidential adviser. This information was discovered by the National Archives and Records Administration in December. According to the report, Navarro violated the Presidential Records Act by failing to copy his official White House account on the email exchanges and by failing to forward the email chains to that account.
According to the complaint, Navarro was contacted by the National Archives and asked to provide the missing data, but he never did.
John Irving and John Rowley, attorneys for Navarro, stated in a statement on Wednesday that their client has never refused to provide the government access to records.
As explained in our most recent letter to the Archives, Mr. Navarro gave instructions to his attorneys to keep all such materials, and he anticipates that the government will act in good faith and according to established procedures in order to grant him access to information. The government, they claimed, opted to launch its complaint today.
Separately, after a judge rejected his request to delay the proceedings in part to promote a new book, Navarro was ordered to stand trial in November on criminal contempt of Congress charges for his refusal to cooperate with the Jan. 6 committee. He entered a not-guilty plea to the accusations.
Irving voiced “concern regarding collaboration between various government investigations and the safeguarding of Mr. Navarros constitutional rights” in a letter that was submitted to the DOJ petition.
Simply put, Irving wrote in the letter dated July 29: “We are concerned that the government is using the Presidential Records Act as a discovery tool, not only with respect to the ongoing criminal case against Mr. Navarros, but with respect to broader investigations being conducted by both Congress and the executive branch.
While acknowledging Mr. Navarro’s responsibilities under the Presidential Records Act, he continued, “we also must note the tension between the act and his rights under the Constitution, particularly the Fifth Amendment.”