How Peter Navarro talked himself into a federal indictment

Peter Navarro, a former adviser to former President Donald Trump and a key player in the plot to overthrow the duly elected Biden administration after the 2020 election, has been indicted for denying a House subpoena. 

According to NBC News, Navarro was indicted on two counts of contempt of Congress for failing to provide papers and failing to provide testimony. Navarro is among several ex-Trump officials baselessly arguing that executive privilege prevented him from cooperating with the committee’s investigation. 

Despite stonewalling the Jan. 6 committee, Navarro has been far and away the most outspoken person to have participated in the scheme to unlawfully install Trump as president despite his election loss. And it’s not an overstatement to say he talked his way into this federal indictment. As the committee noted in its subpoena, Navarro hasn’t been shy about discussing the plan to reinstall Trump as president. 

In January, he appeared on The Beat with Ari Melber and carefully detailed the election scheme, which he said he and others referred to as the “Green Bay Sweep.” The plot, also outlined in a book Navarro released, involved pressuring then-Vice President Mike Pence to block the Senate from certifying states’ electoral college votes for an indefinite amount of time. Then, amid that chaos, Navarro said the plan was for Republican-led legislatures in battleground states to decertify the votes over claims something nefarious had gone on with the election. Following the deluded theory, nullifying Biden’s victories in these battleground states would have left Trump with more electoral college votes and set up a legal fight while Trump theoretically remained in office. 

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Of course, that plan fell apart, largely because Pence refused to go along with it, inspiring angry tweets from Trump and chants for Pence to be hanged by rioters outside the Capitol. 

After the Jan. 6 committee voted to recommend Navarro for contempt charges in March, he seemed to have trepidations about discussing his role in the scheme publicly. But those feelings soon subsided. He reportedly canceled an appearance on The Beat the day after the contempt vote. But he appeared on the show again as recently as Thursday night, claiming the committee is illegitimate and threatening to go after Democrats if a Republican is elected in 2024 and he joins the administration. 

There’s a lot of time between now and 2024, and there’s no telling whether Navarro will even be a free man by the next election. But in the immediate term, he might want to focus on reality over fiction. That means less public rambling over failed coups and future retribution. And more attention paid to the serious indictment he’s dealing with.