One of four federal grand juries investigating different aspects of the plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election is getting closer to former President Donald Trump.
"Peter Navarro, a top White House adviser to Donald Trump, is being commanded by a federal grand jury subpoena to turn over to the justice department his communications with the former president, the former president’s attorneys and the former president’s representatives," Hugo Lowell reported for The Guardian. "The exact nature of the subpoena – served on 26 May 2022 and first obtained by the Guardian – and whether it means Trump himself is under criminal investigation for January 6 could not be established given the unusually sparse details included on the order.
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin described the subpoena as significant.
"But certain elements appear to suggest that it is related to a new investigation examining potential criminality by the former president and, at the very least, that the justice department is expanding its inquiry for the first time into Trump and his inner circle," Lowell reported. "But the fact that Trump is specifically named in the subpoena – a reference that the justice department would not have made lightly – and the specific requests for Navarro’s communications with Trump could indicate that this is a criminal investigation examining Trump."
In addition to the grand jury subpoenaing Navarro, there is also one examining contempt charges against Steve Bannon, one examining organizers of Jan. 6 rallies, and one probing the fake electors scheme.
"Navarro was not told when he was served with the grand jury subpoena whether he was a target or a subject of the investigation. If he was a target, that might indicate the subpoena was related to a contempt case. If he was a subject, it could make him part of a wider inquiry," he wrote. "The distinction also raises a third possibility, according to the former assistant US attorneys: he may be a target for a contempt case, and also a subject in a different case – and prosecutors might use the contempt case as leverage to gain cooperation for the other."
Former prosecutor Renato Mariotti described the mention of Trump's name as "a really big deal."
"This is the first concrete evidence I’ve seen that the Justice Department is criminally investigating Donald Trump’s role in the January 6th insurrection," he explained.